(AGI) - Lagos, 17 Aug. - President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to commence the search for crude oil and other hydrocarbon exploratory activities in the Benue Trough, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikaniti Baru disclosed in Abuja Tuesday. Benue is in the North Central region of the country. This is coming few days after the same directive was given to NNPC to intensify crude oil exploration in the Chad basin. The Benue Trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000 kilometer north-east from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad. It is part of the broader Central African Rift System. Baru stated that the directive to commence exploratory activities in the Benue Trough was part of efforts to guarantee energy security of the country, as NNPC also stated that it has reinvigorated its collaboration with the Benue State Government on the Ethanol project, which is geared towards production of biofuels for energy sufficiency. The NNPC boss noted that ethanol, when blended with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, ensures excellent performance of vehicles, stressing that energy sufficiency and proficiency were part of the cardinal objectives of the corporation, adding that it has initiated a renewable energy programme in August 2005, which is in conformity with the Kyoto Protocol agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory. The primary aim of the programme, according to the NNPC, is to link the agricultural sector with the oil and gas industry, adding that it is also targeted 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. (AGI) .