By Prince Okafor

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to commence hydrocarbon exploratory activities in the Benue Trough.

This is coming up even as NNPC and the Benue State Government, BNSG, strengthened partnership on Ethanol project, which is geared towards production of biofuel in the country.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikaniti Baru, said that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Corporation to commence hydrocarbon exploratory activities in the Benue Trough, as part of efforts in ensuring energy security in the country.

He also said: “Ethanol when blended with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol ensures excellent performance of vehicles.”

Meanwhile, NNPC initiated a renewable energy programme in August 2005 in conformity with the Kyoto Protocol agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.

The primary aim of the programme is to link the agricultural sector with the Oil and Gas Industry. It is also aimed at gradually reducing the nation’s dependence on imported gasoline, reducing environmental pollution as a result of consumption of wholesale fossil fuel as well as creating a commercially viable industry that can boast of sustainable domestic jobs.

A similar programme in Brazil has a thriving biofuels industry providing quantum economic benefits including creation of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for nationals of that country.

It would also be recalled that the leader of the Benue State delegation, Chief Terwase Orbunde, commended the NNPC for resolving the recent fuel supply challenges and pledged the readiness of the state government to support the quick take off of the Ethanol project, adding that the project would generate jobs for Nigerians.

Chief  Orbunde also assured the corporation of full support and cooperation from the State Government and the host communities, stressing that the State Government fully identifies itself with the energy policy of the Federal Government.

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