From Uche Usim, Abuja
As the global energy transition song reaches a crescendo, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has charged regulatory agencies and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to be circumspect in designing operational regulations as one faulty clause was enough to eclipse all the inherent gains of Nigeria’s abundant hydrocarbon resources.
To this end, he said all existing and amended regulations must balance the interests of Nigeria and the global market because the survival of the nation’s economy rides on it.
The Minister gave the charge in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of two-day stakeholders’ consultation on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) draft regulation, prepared by the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).
According to him, the challenges 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.
The Minister said: “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 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”.
He said the enactment of the PIA would usher in new investment opportunities in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry with massive opportunities for every industry player.
“Earlier in his remarks, the NUPRC Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe noted that the event was a statutory prescription and a
critical milestone in the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Be added that the programme was 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. 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 as follows: Nigerian Upstream Fee and Rent Regulations; Petroleum Licensing Round Regulations; Domestic Gas Delivery Obligations Regulations; Nigeria Conversion Regulations; Nigeria Royalty Regulations; Nigeria Host Community (Commission) Regulations.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Host Communities, Senator Bio Barakuma stated that the passage of PIA was the biggest event in the petroleum industry having lingered for over two decades.
He added that the delay in the passage threw industry to a world of uncertainties.
He expressed joy that a full chapter in the PIA is totally dedicated to host communities to address myriads of issues affecting them and oil exploration in general.
He reckoned that the PIA may not address the entire challenges of host communities as no act driven by human efforts is perfect, but described the Act as a good takeoff point.
He noted that the stakeholder event was key and timely to enable the legislature to make its inputs.
“There are a few grey areas seeking clarification. We may need an amendment of the PIA to address those”, he said.