Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru has challenged Nigerian universities on scientific research, technology incubation to promote the countryâ€™s local content policy, industrialisation and economic growth.
Baru also spoke of some significant achievements of the Buhari administration within the past three years to include the ongoing oil exploration in the Gongola Basin, which straddles Bauchi and Gombe states.
The GMD issued the challenge in Bauchi weekend while delivering a pre-Convocation lecture for the combined 23rd, 24th and 25th convocation ceremonies of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi.
The lecture was themed â€˜Enhancing University-Industry Collaboration to Support Nigerian Content Policy, Industrialisation and economic Growthâ€™.
According to him, â€œdespite the progress being made in ensuring local content through indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry, there is need for advancement in technology and innovation to keep with changing competitive market and the countryâ€™s industrial sector.â€
He said educational advancement would continue to play a key role in sustaining the gains of the Nigerian content policy.
Baru noted that universities would play great roles through production of highly skilled manpower and research outcomes to help the industry remain profitable and grow.
He however lamented that Nigerian universities have fallen short of the progress required to support sustainable industrial and economic growth and promote participation of Nigerians for industrial production.
â€œWithout effective synergy between universities and the industry, Nigeriaâ€™s technological and economic progress will continue to stall while other countries move forward,â€ he added.
Baru advocated strategic partnership at the highest level between the company and universities, to comprise of senior academicians and company executives with flexibility to sustain the partnership for best results.
He also disclosed that arrangements have almost been concluded by the corporation to start oil drilling on the Kolmani River in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi state.
According to him, â€œOn Kolmani River as I said during my lecture, we are in the finishing touches to go in and start oil drillingâ€, stressing that NNPC has good structures and indications that oil can be found in commercial quantity on the river.
â€œWe are going to start drilling appraisal wells in the Kolmani River area which is just as you enter the face of Yankari Games Reserves, and we will start drilling the wells before the end of the yearâ€, Baru further stated.
Baru also spoke of some significant achievements of the Buhari administration within the past three years to include the on-going oil exploration in the Gongola Basin which straddles Bauchi and Gombe states.
These oil exploration activities, Baru stated, were being undertaken in collaboration with ATBU, Bauchi and the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola that provide technical support in the area of environmental impact assessment.
It was learnt that the NNPC is drilling four wells in the Kolmani river area with the Kolmani River 1 contracted to Shell Petroleum Exploration Company while the other three blocks yet to be contracted.
On NNPC sponsorship of students involved in research concerning oil drilling, the GMD said the corporation was championing education right from the grassroots.
According to him, the NNPC has championed education between secondary school students in the 774 Local Government Areas up to states level, and awarded them various incentives including sponsorship, saying NNPC is a key determinant in education.