Association blames inadequate funding for non-discovery of oil
LACK of political commitment, coupled with inadequate funding are responsible for the non-discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantity, the Association of Petroleum Inland Basins States of the North (APIBON) has said.
The Secretary General of the Association, Yusuf Sani, who stated this in Abuja while speaking on the parlous state of oil basins in the country, said Niger Republic, Chad Republic and Sudan which have structural stratigraphic similarities with the ones in Nigeria have recorded greater successes in oil discoveries.
He explained: “It is instructive and worthy of note that outside of the Dahomey basin and the southern portion of the Anambra basin, the rest of the hinterland basins comprising about 80% lie in Northern Nigeria sadly remain undeveloped. They include the Northern Anambra basin, Benue trough (middle and upper), Bida basin, southern Chad basin, and Sokoto basin.”
Sani added that if the will and commitment had been there, the Federal Government would have taken initiatives that would have developed the hydrocarbon deposits in the Niger Delta areas and that of the basin simultaneously through the years.
“In our opinion, if oil blocs in the Niger Delta had been awarded as an incentive for the ones in the oil basin would have sped up the process of developing all the oil blocs at the same time. If Sudan, Niger and Chad had theirs developed, why would Nigeria not develop its own? It is done to lack of political will on the part of the political leaders,” he said.
The association insisted that the recent pronouncement by the Federal Government of the availability of commercial finds in Lake Chad ahs further heightens hope for other inland basins and a clear testimony that devoid of politics and corruption, exploration activities in the inland basins by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) access to crude in northern Nigerian would have become a reality.
Yusuf also asked what happened to moneys that are allocated to exploration activities in the frontier basins, saying, “it is on record that billions of Naira budgetary allocations were made each year by the National Assembly in the NNPC budgets for exploration activities in the frontier basins with nothing to show for it. The funds are always diverted into private pockets via phantom seismic studies contract always awarded to fictitious companies by the NNPC.”
The association urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to immediately investigate application of the past budgetary allocations with a view to unraveling how the funds were expended.
Yusuf further explained that the aim of forming an association was to work with the Federal Government with a view to mobilizing the NNPC to commence and/or accelerate the exploration activities in the inland basins and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to allocate blocs in the inland basins to prospective investors.