Operators in the upstream oil and gas industry converged in Abuja on Wednesday for a three-day consultation forum to discuss and finalise the draft regulations in line with Section 216 of the PIA 2021.
In his address at the forum, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said participants would “be considering the draft regulations as prepared by the NUPRC in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA.”
He added, “It is believed that a robust engagement such as this would create the platform for all of us to brainstorm in a constructive manner and harness the necessary input from various stakeholders to further clarify the draft regulations and the eventual firming up of the final regulations for use.”
The minister stated that the enactment of the PIA was expected to open up opportunities in the oil and gas sector of the economy.Sylva said the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA, which he chaired as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, had played a pivotal role in collaborating with the NUPRC in the drafting of the first set of regulations, which was presented for review at the interactive forum.
“However, the challenge posed by the huge divestments in the hydrocarbon explorations by oil majors in the country in the past as a result of the global energy transition calls for more innovative ways in the exploitation and exploration of fossil fuel in the country,” he stated.
Sylva added, “If we must continue to be relevant at the global stage, we must in designing any regulation put in focus how we can balance the energy baseload for Nigeria so that we will not be left behind in the energy transition train, while still harnessing our rich natural hydrocarbon reserves.”
On his part, the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, explained that the forum was a statutory prescription and a critical milestone in the implementation of the PIA.
“For us as a law-abiding regulator and in compliance with the provisions of the PIA, this occasion is convened for stakeholders to make robust input and have discussions around the entire draft regulations leading to finalising the regulations for the Nigerian upstream oil and gas industry in fulfillment of the provisions of the PIA,” he stated.
Komolafe added, “Also, aside from the statutory imperative on the part of the commission to have the regulations finalised in time-specific manner, there is also the compelling need for us as a nation to conclude the regulation-making process for implementation of the PIA to be in full throttle in a manner that Nigeria can hedge against the impact of energy transition and take advantage of the oil and gas supply gap resulting from the current developments in Russia and Ukraine.”
He stressed that the audience gathered at the forum was a fair representation of the diverse stakeholders in the Nigerian upstream oil and gas industry and that it was consciously done to ensure robust input and result-oriented discussion in the finalisation of the regulations.
“Permit me to say that this is the first phase of the stakeholder engagements to be conducted by the commission as a regulator. This is deliberately so, because we are conscious of prioritising regulations to meet the timelines in the PIA,” he stated.
The NUPRC boss added, “As such, this first phase of the stakeholder’s engagement will capture robust discussions around issues dealing with royalty, licensing rounds, fees and rentals, burning issues on implementation of host community fund in line with Section 235 of the PIA, finalising the 2020 bid round through issuance of PPL in line with Section 94 (2) of the PIA and a host of others.”
He outlined the other issues to include the Nigerian Upstream Fee and Rent Regulations, Petroleum Licensing Round Regulations and Domestic Gas Delivery Obligations Regulations.
Komolafe further named the remaining to include the Nigeria Conversion Regulations, Nigeria Royalty Regulations and Nigeria Host Community (Commission) Regulations.