Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said effective regulation was needed to harness the benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for global relevance.
According to NAN, Sylva said this while declaring open a stakeholder consultation forum on draft regulations under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) on Wednesday in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved a steering committee of nine members to ensure the implementation of the PIA — after he signed the invoice in the law.
The law that orders the deregulation of the oil sector and the elimination of gasoline subsidies had been extended at 18 months.
The draft regulations were prepared by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on the PIA.
The first consultative forum aimed to secure inputs and considerations from oil and gas sector stakeholders on the draft regulations for a smooth implementation of the PIA.
Regulations include host community development, oil royalties, upstream royalties and rents, domestic gas delivery obligations, conversation in Nigeria, and licensing regulations.
Sylva, Chairman of the Steering Committee, said that for Nigeria to continue to be globally relevant, it needs to devise regulations that could balance Nigeria’s baseload energy load.
Effective regulation, he said, would ensure that Nigeria is not left behind on the energy transition bandwagon while exploiting its rich natural hydrocarbon reserves.
The minister expressed optimism that input from various stakeholders would further clarify the draft regulations and eventually firm up the final regulations to be used.
According to the minister, the government has a mandate to ensure sound management of the oil and gas sector given the key role the sector plays in generating revenue for the country.
He said it was on this basis that the Presidential Steering Committee played the pivotal role in collaborating with the NUPRC in drafting the first set of regulations to be considered.
He commended the efforts of the commission in the preparation of these draft regulations to exceed the deadline set by law for the start of the implementation of the PIA.
“I hope that the regulations, once fully implemented, will go a long way towards helping the NUPRC’s day-to-day operations get off to a good start,” he added.
Sylva said the eventual assent marked a new era and opportunity in the oil and gas sector of the economy after nearly two decades of failed efforts to pass the law in Nigeria.
While decrying the challenges posed by the huge divestments in hydrocarbon explorations by oil majors in the past due to the global energy transition, he called for more innovative ways of exploiting and exploring fossil fuels in the Nigeria.
In his remarks, Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NUPRC said the forum should discuss and finalize the draft regulations in accordance with Section 216 of the 2021 PIA.
“We are mindful of prioritizing regulations to meet PIA deadlines. As such, this first phase of stakeholder engagement will capture burning issues on implementation under Section 235 of the PIA,” Komolafe said.
“And also finalize the 2020 bidding round through the issuance of a Petroleum Exploration License (PPL) pursuant to Section 94(2) of the PIA and a host of others.”