The New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), a business conglomerate of the 19 northern state governments, has disclosed plans to commence exploration of oil and gas in the Lake Chad area of North-East.
“Oil and gas blocks have been discovered in the North. But for security challenges in the North-East, exploration would have gone far,” the company said in a media briefing after its annual general meeting in Kaduna yesterday.
The Board of Directors’ Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed Dalhatu, who addressed journalists, expressed regrets that the insecurity in the North-East had affected the take off of the exploration.
“But we have since re-engaged our people to be totally committed to the oil exploration and exploitation of both oil and gas resources. We believe that will spring boot revival of economy in the region,” he said.
Asked when the exploration will commence, the NNDC’s board chairman said: “We are commencing the exploration within the year 2016. We are already talking with technical partners that would help us explore the resources.”
According to him, the company was able to post profit despite political instability and the activities of insurgents in the northern parts of the country.
He said the continuous decline in government revenue, which resulted in reduction of foreign reserves as well as devaluation of the naira, posed challenges to the operations of the NNDC.
Dalhatu also reiterated that despite the tough operating environment and the continuous security challenges, the company remained resolute and focused in realising its objectives.
The chairman said the operating income of the company increased by 42 per cent from N651.2 million to N923.9 million while a 73 per cent increase was recorded in operating profit before tax from N137.2 million to N237.2 million.
He said further increases were recorded in earnings per share of 87 per cent from 16.7 kobo to 31.2 kobo and 4.4 per cent net assets per share from 14.1 to N18.5 when compared with results of the preceding year of 2014.
“Notwithstanding the tough operating challenges, the company continued it efforts of developing quality manpower for the North and for the country in general,” he stated, adding that in that respect, 541 chartered accountants were sponsored to qualification by the company since the inception of the programme in 2007.
“We shall continue to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far as we are convinced that given a more stable polity and improved business environment, the goals and objectives as enshrined in the company’s five-year strategic plan will be archived,” he said, adding that this includes 15 per cent annual returns on investment.