Nigeria is “on the verge of a significant oil find” in the Lake Chad area of the northeast, NNPC managing director Ibe Kachikwu was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the state oil company on Sunday.
Kachikwu, who is to be sworn in to President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet on Wednesday and is widely expected to become junior oil minister, also said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is projecting revenues of $20 billion in 2016.
Africa’s biggest economy has been hammered by the sharp drop in global oil prices, because it relies on crude exports for around 70 percent of government revenues.
“There are signs from the latest 3D seismic studies that oil may be very close to being found now in Lake Chad,” Kachikwu was quoted as saying in a statement issued by NNPC spokesman Ohi Alegbe.
“I am optimistic that by the end of the year we should be able to announce something major on this,” he said in a presentation in Lagos, according to the statement.
Kachikwu was quoted as saying it would be important to pass the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill aimed at overhauling the oil sector, and to encourage investment in the country’s oil and gas industry.
“Kachikwu stated that the NNPC is projecting the inflow of $20bn in 2016 to enable the corporation to fund major projects,” said NNPC spokesman Alegbe.
Portfolios have yet to be assigned to the 36 cabinet members chosen by Buhari, but analysts expect Kachikwu to report to the president, who will personally oversee the petroleum portfolio.