Niger eyes oil producing state status as NNPC begins oil search in Bida basin

NNPC Towers Abuja

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello has appealed to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fast track the exploration of hydro carbon in Bida basin.

Governor Sani-Bello made the appeal when he and some members of his cabinet paid a courtesy visit to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that the State Government had established a Ministry of Mineral Resources and Department of Oil and Gas as part of efforts to ensure that Niger joins the league of oil producing states in the country. This is in addition to setting up a committee on Bida basin, which has been interfacing with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR); and the writing of a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Bida basin.

“We are making progress in Bida basin; that is why we are here to follow up and find out how things are moving and have an understanding of the progresses made for the benefit of our people.

“It will be our joy and hope that the state will join the oil producing states, as we are hoping to start exploring oil in the state as soon as possible,” Sani-Bello said.

He also appealed to the NNPC boss to build truck parks for oil tanker drivers in Minna, Tafa, Suleja, Mokwa and Tegina for them to park their vehicles to ensure the safety of the people of state.

“A lot of oil trucks filled with fuel park their vehicles within our communities and they load oil above the normal approved standard of 35,000 metric tons.

“Any mistake from these tanker drivers results to casualties and sometimes loss of lives and destruction of properties. We have identified areas that these parks can be built.

“We are asking for your support to assist us build them and rehabilitate our roads that are in bad shape as a result of these trucks carrying overweight products,” he said.

The Governor lamented that the State Government had spent a lot of money to rehabilitate federal roads linking the state and other parts of the country.

Responding, Baru disclosed that a contract had been awarded to the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, in November for the geological mapping of the Bida basin, which would be concluded in three months.

“After the geological mapping, we will do the surface, geographical history as well as ground gravity and the data will be integrated by the NNPC.

“Other activities will take at least four to six months and we will be expecting conclusion between July and August 2018. We will run the original precise data after which we will commission the environmental assessment,” he said.

The NNPC GMD, who admitted having read media reports and research papers on the possible hydrocarbon deposit in the Bida basin, said that NNPC would carry out the exploration process professionally and commence activities on the basin.

He disclosed that NNPC was in contact with the Federal Ministry of Works on how to rehabilitate some of the federal roads that links the state with others Northern parts of the country.

“We will ensure that bad portions in Mokwa, Jebba, Lapai and Minna roads are rehabilitated with the support from the Federal Government. We will also increase our pressure on the Federal of Works to building bridges across these roads and pass a warning to truck drivers not to load above the upgraded 46,000 gross rate of the ministry,” Baru said.

H noted that the NNPC had directed various oil depots across the country to avoid loading oil tankers above the approved 35,000 to 40,000 metric tons.

He gave assurance that NNPC would assist the state to build trucks parks in Suleja and Minna through Public Private Partnership to avoid environmental hazard.

The NNPC boss appealed to the Niger State Government to extend the land provision for building trucks parks in Tafa that would accommodate the trucks.

Source News Express

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