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Africa: Nigeria halts all oil exploration in Borno as Boko Haram kills researchers and

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The North Africa Journal: July 28, 2017:   The Nigerian government is cancelling all exploration activity in northeast of the country. Security information firm MEA Risk LLC reports that the decision came after six civilians who were part of an oil exploration team, including three senior geologists from the University of Maiduguri were reported to have been killed along Nigeria’s Lake Chad Basin while exploring for oil in Borno State. Other sources also confirmed the killing of 12 soldiers who were tasked to protect the exploration team.  The exploration team was kidnapped on Tuesday, 25 July.

In mid-May 2017, executives of Nigeria’s oil company NNPC announced that the company resumed oil exploration in the northeastern state of Borno, arguing that level of security there has improved to justify a resumption of exploration. Apparently, the military gave NNPC assurances that its staff would get adequate security.

MEA Risk says the search for oil in northeast Nigeria has been a goal of President Buhari, in an effort to diminish the country’s reliance on the troubled Niger Delta, where militants have been destroying pipelines, forcing a reduction in the country’s oil production. There is also the need to get new revenues for the restive northeastern part of Nigeria, which will need substantial funds to rebuild, assuming the military manages to defeat Boko Haram. Finally, the Lake Chad region has been a major interest for oilmen, given the potential, however militant groups, in particular Boko Haram have also been expanding, as we are witnessing in northern Cameroon and are not likely going to make the job of explorers easy.

The North Africa Journal is a leading English-language publication focused on North Africa. The Journal covers primarily the Maghreb region and expands its general coverage to the Sahel, Egypt, and beyond, when events in those regions affect the broader North Africa geography. The Journal does not have any affiliation with any institution and has been independent since its founding in 1996. Our position is to always bring our best analysis of events affecting the region, and remain as neutral as humanly possible. Our coverage is not limited to one single topic, but ranges from economic and political affairs, to security, defense, social and environmental issues. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis. We also work with sister company MEA Risk LLC, to leverage the presence on the ground of a solid network of contributors and experts. Information on MEA Risk can be found at www.MEA-Risk.com.