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Nigeria must evolve innovative ways in oil, gas exploration – Sylva



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For Nigeria to continue to be relevant as a major player in the global oil and gas industry, it must come up with innovative ways of exploiting and exploring its abundant oil and gas.

In his opening remarks at the stakeholders’ consultation on draft regulations on implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act Wednesday in Abuja, the minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said that stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry “must in designing any regulation put in focus how we can balance the energy base load for Nigeria so that we will not be left behind in the energy transition train while still harnessing our rich natural hydrocarbon reserves.”

Sylva noted that the huge divestments in the hydrocarbon explorations by oil majors in the country in the past as a result of the global energy transition needs to be approached in new ways as the country continues to rely on gas as it transition fuel.

He however said that the enactment of the PIA is expected to open up opportunities in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

“The enactment of the PIA would usher in new investment opportunities in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry with massive opportunities for every industry player. It is to this end, that the Legislative Arm of Government in its wisdom deemed it necessary to involve various stakeholders and professionals in the oil and gas industry like you and I in the making of these regulations.

The Draft Regulations was prepared by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

The minister said that for the PIA to succeed, there is a strong need for effective regulations to harness the gains of the legislation, adding that the “Government has a mandate of ensuring sound management of the oil and gas sector considering the key role the sector plays in the revenue generation of the country.

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“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 eventual firming up of the final regulations for use.”

He therefore urged industry stakeholders to join hands together in ensuring sustainability and maximise the benefits obtainable from the industry.

This is why the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA, which I chair as the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, has played this pivotal role in collaborating with the Commission in the drafting of the first set of regulations, which will be presented for review at this interactive forum.

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, Sylva said.

Earlier, the Chief Executive of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, in his remarks noted the implementation of the PIA will go a long way in driving investment in the oil and gas industry.

He said that as a law abiding regulator, it is important that it convene the stakeholders’ consultation for seamless implementation of the provisions of the Act.

“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 fulfilment of the provisions of the PIA.

“It gives me great honour and privilege to welcome this esteemed audience of eminent stakeholders in the Nigerian Upstream Oil and Gas industry to a three-day consultation forum to discuss and finalise the draft Regulations in line with Section 216 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

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“Also, aside 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 Regulations-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.

Komolafe explained that first phase of the engagement will address issues around 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 as follows: Nigerian Upstream Fee and Rent Regulations; Petroleum Licensing Round Regulations; Domestic Gas Delivery Obligations Regulations; Nigeria Conversion Regulations; Nigeria Royalty Regulations; and Nigeria Host Community (Commission) Regulations.

Distinguished Stakeholders, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is noteworthy that preceding this engagement, the Commission had published notices of stakeholders’ consultation in two national newspapers in conformity with provisions of Section 216 (4) of the PIA, uploaded the draft Regulations on its website and received input from stakeholders. All these were done to make this engagement seamless and ensure the robustness of the Regulations so that the intent of the law is well achieved.

Distinguished stakeholders, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are very optimistic that this engagement will be fruitful, and all grey areas will receive adequate clarification with a view to giving meaning to the intent of the PIA and in a manner that the Regulations become attractive to investors and user friendly in implementation.

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