Nigeria sets new regulations amid dwindling oil production, environmental concerns
Amidst uncertainties facing the upstream segment of the Nigerian petroleum industry, the Federal Government, yesterday in Abuja, announced that fresh regulations are being considered to address key issues in the sector.
With the divestment in the sector and dwindling funding for exploration and production, the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said seven new regulations are being considered along with stakeholders to grow the sector.
The regulations seek to address acreage issues, environmental issues, issues related to management environmental remediation fund, safety, utilization, decommissioning and abandonment as well as frontier exploration fund.
While Nigeria passed the long awaited PIA last year, the success or failure of the law is largely dependent on the regulations, which are expected to serve as the vehicles for driving the provisions of the law.
In May, the NUPRC had issued six regulations including 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.
The new ones being considered by key players in the sector are; Acreage Management (Drilling & Production) Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Environmental Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Environmental Remediation Fund Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Safety Regulations, Unitization Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Decommissioning & Abandonment Regulations and Frontier Exploration Fund Regulations.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement on the regulations, the Chief Executive Commission, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe said engaging and aligning with stakeholders remained sacrosanct to creating an enabling environment for growth and investments in the segment.
“This can be seen in our efforts to ensure that regulations and key policies necessitated by the PIA are developed and gazetted timely so that the industry operators can align their operations with the PIA provisions as quickly as possible,” he said.
Komolafe, who was represented by Executive Commissioner, Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Tonlagha Roland John said the process of formulating the identified regulations has been a rigorous and strenuous exercise, adding that they are products of critical thinking and evaluation, and hard work by the Commission’s Regulation development Team and the Presidential implementation Committee on PIA.
“Despite this however, the process is not complete until the Stakeholders’ critical inputs are obtained, discussed, and incorporated, where necessary, in the regulations,” he stated
Head, Legal at NUPRC, Joseph Tolorunse disclosed that the second phase of the regulations development remained a testament to the regulator’s vision and determination to implement with speed the provisions of the PlA and to build vital structures and constructive relationships within the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The input from stakeholders, according to him, would enable the sector to achieve projected objectives and meet best international standards.