By Edith Ike-Eboh and Emmanuel Afonne
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) started its activities for the week with a move by stakeholders to begin the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in the upstream sector of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said at a 2-day upstream stakeholders’ forum organised by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in Abuja that the process of ratifying the first set of regulations was on.
Sylva said the regulations would govern the sector in line with Section 216 of the PIA and that the forum was convened to enable stakeholders provide inputs to fine-tune key regulations as prepared by the NUPRC and the Presidential Steering Committee.
“It is believed that a robust engagement such as this will create the platform for all of us to brainstorm in a constructive manner.
“It will also harness the necessary inputs from various stakeholders to further clarify the draft regulations and the eventual firming up of the final regulations for use.”
The Minister stated that though the PIA had removed the uncertainties that hampered investments in the sector, strong regulations were required to keep the industry vibrant and relevant.
He called on the stakeholders to embrace innovation in their operations to enable the industry survive the challenges imposed by the global energy transition.
“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.
“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.
“This will ensure that we will not be left behind in the energy transition train while still harnessing our rich natural hydrocarbon reserves.”
Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the NUPRC, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, explained that the forum had become a statutory prescription and a critical milestone in the implementation of the PIA.
He said that as a law-abiding agency, it was binding on the NUPRC to work expeditiously towards finalising the regulations for the upstream sector of oil and gas industry.
This, he said would help in keeping with specific timelines as provided in the PIA.
“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.
“This will ensure that the PIA is in full throttle and in a manner that will enable Nigeria hedge against the impact of energy transition while taking advantage of the oil and gas supply gap resulting from the current developments in Russia and Ukraine.”
He listed the six draft regulations up for review at the forum to include: the Nigerian Upstream Fee and Rent Regulations, the Petroleum Licensing Round Regulations and the Domestic Gas Delivery Obligations Regulations.
Others are the Nigeria Conversion Regulations, the Nigeria Royalty Regulations and the Nigeria Host Community (Commission) Regulations.
He said that the commission would carry out other similar stakeholders’ engagements in the course of the implementation of the PIA.
Still in the week under review, the NNPC Ltd. and its partners – TotalEnergies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Prime 130 and Sapetro inaugurated four projects in Cross River, Delta and Rivers in line with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies.
The projects which include a maternal and child referral centre located in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Cross River, boreholes and water treatment plants at Ikiri, Rivers State, Warri in Delta State, and Odukpani, in Cross River, were all recently inaugurated and handed over to the beneficiary communities.
Speaking at the event, the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr Bala Wunti, said that the NNPC Ltd. was committed to the implementation of projects that guarantees sustainable development of its host communities.
“These projects were borne out of the need to mitigate the obvious gaps in healthcare, quality education, water, and women and youth empowerment as stipulated by the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“NNPC and its partners are socially responsible organisations that are committed to improving the livelihood of the citizens of our great country,” Wunti said.
On his part, Managing Director, TotalEnergies upstream companies in Nigeria, Mr Mike Sangster, said that the projects were designed to reduce the negative impacts of the lack of qualitative and technical education.
Sangster said that the projects were also designed to reduce maternal and child health, access to clean water, and women and youth empowerment.
He also stated that the projects’ sites were carefully chosen for maximum impact, as derived from the needs’ assessment carried out prior to their conception and subsequent deployment.
“It is important to note that the implementation of these projects was achieved through the novel “Project Managers” approach.
“This approach which is new in the industry permits the delivery of projects in remote and challenging environments while ensuring the use of local expertise and stakeholder engagement.
“I am very happy that the pilot projects are successfully executed. We are using the Return on Experience, to improve our processes and deliver our second and third phases faster and better,” Sangster said.
In a related development, NNPC and its partner, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), donated a state-of-the-art Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre to the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State.
The 100-seater One-Storey building was built and equipped by the NNPC and SNEPCo Joint Venture to promote research, teaching and learning in a conducive environment.
Speaking at the inauguration of the project, the Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa said the facility would go a long way in expanding the capacity of the students and staff of the university and enable them compete locally and globally.
The Governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Jennifer Adesen-Efeviroro, applauded NNPC and SNEPCo for their intervention.
“An ICT Centre in the modern world has an immense economic significance and prudent application of the facility to research, teaching and learning would catalyse innovations that would stand the university out among its peers.
The Group General Manager of NAPIMS, Mr Bala Wunti described the project as a delight to NNPC.
Wunti noted that NNPC was committed to making significant impact in the lives of every Nigerian through the delivery of life enhancing projects as the ones being inaugurated.
“We are keen on touching lives in many positive ways and this intervention, like many others delivered through our partners, will go a long way in grooming Nigerian youths for the technological evolution in the world,” he said.
Wunti, who was represented by the Deputy Manager, External Affairs, NAPIMS, Mrs Edith Lawson, said that the ICT Centre would help create a pool of IT savvy professionals whose skills would be of high necessity and demand globally.
The ICT centre is equipped with 100 computers with licensed software, a WIFI lounge, computer laboratories, conference rooms, a lecture hall, office spaces and equipment rooms.
The facility also included smart interactive boards, and a 100KVA generator.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, called for increased investments in the nation’s oil and gas industry to boost gas development and supply as European countries turn to Nigeria for their gas supply needs.
The Minister made the call during a visit of the delegation from the Kingdom of Belgium led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Daniel Dargent.
While welcoming the Belgian delegation, Sylva said that with its abundant natural gas resources, Nigeria was well positioned to fill the current gas supply gap being experienced in parts of Europe.
He, however, said that there was need to increase investments in gas development in the country to fully achieve the aspiration of boosting gas exports.
The Minister also urged investors to explore the opportunities in the nation’s downstream sector, especially in the areas of gas plants and pipelines to support the promotion of Federal Government’s plan to introduce Auto-gas.
Speaking earlier on the purpose of the visit, Dargent said the Kingdom of Belgium was interested in importing more gas from Nigeria and would like to know what challenges the country had in achieving that.
He promised to provide the Minister with a list of potential investors by June 2022 and to follow up with discussions in October when the group of Belgian investors were expected to be on ground in the country.
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