Oredola Adeola with agency report
The Federal Government has commenced stakeholders’ consultation forum among key stakeholders to drive advocacy around the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) and push for public acceptance of the Act, especially by host communities in the Niger Delta region.
The stakeholders forum held in Abuja on Wednesday, was organised by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA headed by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on August,16, 2021, signed into law the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) earlier passed by the National Assembly, thus establishing the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). It seeks to provide a legal framework for the operations of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria after 65 years of commercial oil exploration.
EnergyDay gathered that the Forum was put together to highlight the need for effective regulations in harnessing the gains of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for global relevance.
It was further revealed that the maiden edition of the consultative forum was aimed at ensuring inputs and considerations of oil and gas stakeholders to finalise the draft Regulations in line with Section 216 of the PIA 2021, for the smooth implementation of the Act.
Speaking at the Forum, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources noted that Nigeria must design regulations that could balance the energy base load for the country in order to stay relevant at the global stage.
He noted that the draft regulations were prepared by the NUPRC) in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA.
The regulations include: Host communities’ development: Petroleum royalty: Upstream fees and rent: Domestic gas delivery obligations: Nigeria conversation; and Licencing regulations.
Sylva said effective regulations would ensure that Nigeria was not left behind in the energy transition train while still harnessing our rich natural hydrocarbon reserves.
The minister expressed hope that the input from various stakeholders would further clarify the draft regulations and eventual firming up of the final regulations for use.
According to the minister, the government has a mandate of ensuring sound management of the oil and gas sector considering the key role the sector plays in revenue generation for the country.
He said it was in this background that the Presidential Steering Committee on PIA, which he chaired, played a pivotal role in collaborating with NUPRC in drafting the first set of regulations for review.
He commended the effort of the commission in the preparation of those draft regulations to beat the deadline set by the law for the commencement of the implementation of the PIA.
“I am hopeful that the regulations, when fully implemented, will help in no small measure in the smooth take-off of the day-to-day operations of the NUPRC,’’ he added.
Sylva said that the eventual assent signaled a new era and opportunities in the oil and gas sector of the economy after almost two decades of unsuccessful efforts to have the law passed in Nigeria.
Sylva, while decrying challenges posed by huge divestments in the hydrocarbon explorations by oil majors in the past due to global energy transition called for more innovative ways in fossil fuel exploitation and exploration in Nigeria.
Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive, NUPRC said the forum was expected to discuss and finalise the draft Regulations in line with Section 216 of the PIA 2021.
Komolafe said besides the statutory imperative on the part of the commission to have the regulations finalised on time, there was also the compelling need for the nation to conclude the regulations-making process for PIA implementation.
This, he said, would enable Nigeria to 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.
“We are conscious of prioritising regulations to meet the timelines in the PIA. As such, this first phase of the stakeholders’ engagement will capture burning issues on the implementation in line with Section 235 of the PIA.
“And also finalising the 2020 bid round through issuance of Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) in line with Section 94 (2) of the PIA and a host of others,’’ the CCE said.
Engr. Komolafe expressed hope that all grey areas on the PIA would receive adequate clarification with a view to giving meaning to the intent of the PIA for user-friendly implementation and attractive investments.