Nigeria earmarks $1bn for exploration of Chad, other inland basins

22 February 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Nigerian government has announced a $1 billion budget to drive exploration activities in the northern Chad basin as well as other inland basins across the country.

Exploration had been on at the Chad basin for decades with no oil yet discovered.

The discovery of oil in the Chadian side of the basin has however, spurred the Nigerian government’s belief that oil could be found there.

Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who disclosed the budget for the inland basins at the ongoing Nigeria Oil Gas conference and exhibition in Abuja, said this has become necessary to find more oil to boost the nation’s reserves.

The minister painted an impressive profile of Nigeria’s oil and gas output, saying oil production has risen from 2.39 million barrels per day (mbd) to 2.5mbd as a result of the peace in the Niger Delta while natural gas production and exports have also seen remarkable improvement.

She noted that due to the peace in the Delta, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) produced and exported 21.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), a little below its nameplate capacity of the 22mtpa.

Overall, she said, gas production increased by more than 70 per cent last year to about 21.2 billion standard cubic feet per day, the first time the industry has seen more domestic gas supply, with a bulk of the supply taken up by the power and industrial sectors.

Speaking on the drop in the rate of exploration in the country, she said the governent was worried about the development and that the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will help address the situation.

Alison-Madueke also stated that it was because of the disturbing trend that the government has set up a technical committee to look at the document and work with members of the National Assembly to speedy up the passage of the bill.