The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has revealed plans by the federal to start oil exploration within the northeast.
Speaking during a recent interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight in Abuja, which aired on Monday.
“I have said a couple of times that we’ve found oil within the northeast and that we have started drilling activities within the Lake Chad Basin,” he said.
“I don’t skill the invention of oil within the area will impact all the problems there but on our side, we believe that during a very short time, we’ll start production.”
The Minister also lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world’s narrative, including the oil and gas industry.
He recalled that the recent meeting held by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) during which Nigeria may be a member was held virtually, noting that such meetings weren’t envisaged before the COVID-19 era.
Sylva also reacted to the piracy, oil bunkering, and illegal refining within the oil-producing region, saying such activities had reduced in comparison to what was obtained within the past.
“Pipeline vandalization is a smaller amount than it wont to be. already, we had but 50 percent production, I can assure you that pipeline vandalization is a smaller amount than it wont to be. If you compare what happens now with what obtains within the past, I feel it’s less now.
“There remains tons of piracy I understand, but the enforcement agencies are handling it. We are watching other ways of handling it and believe that during a very short time, we’ll be ready to get the complete handle thereon,” he added.
Speaking on the gas conversion, the Minister explained that the policy was necessitated by the federal issuing an alternate to Nigeria following the deregulation of oil which will cause the increase in oil prices.
While noting that gas may be a cleaner and more efficient fuel, the Minister regretted previous administrations had not developed the nation’s gas, stressing that Nigeria’s gas penetration is that the lowest in Africa.