The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has again assured prospective bidders and stakeholders in the country’s oil and gas industry of a credible, fair and transparent 2022/2023 oil licensing round bid process.
The Commission Chief Executive, Gbenga KOMOLAFE, gave the assurance
in Lagos on Monday at the opening of the Pre-Bid conference for the 2022/2023 licensing round for prospecting licenses in deep offshore.
Komolafe told participants that the regulatory agency was committed to ensure that only competent local and foreign investors with the right technical and financial capacity, capability and competence in operating in deep water emerge at the end of the bid process.
The theme of the conference was “Growing Upstream Investment in Nigeria through Licensing Round: The Bid Process and Opportunities”.
“Please be rest assured that the entire bid process pursuant to the provisions of the PIA 2021 and attendant regulations will be fair, transparent, and competitive in line with best practices,” Komolafe said.
As the organisers of the bid round, Komolafe reiterated the expectation of the Commission that the exercise would be a huge success for Nigeria.
“The Mini Bid Round is a big step towards growing the nation’s oil and gas reserves through aggressive exploration and development efforts, boosting production, expanding opportunities for gas utilisation and development, strengthening energy security and economy, providing the opportunity to gainfully engage the pool of competent companies in the oil and gas sector resulting in employment opportunities, enabling transfer of technology, valurizing petroleum assets in the Nigerian Territory and attracting investments.
“In addition, the Mini Bid Round presents us with the opportunity to reinforce Nigeria’s commitment to openness and transparency in line with the principles of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
“On the global scale, the Licensing Round will no doubt be gainful to all stakeholders and will in the long run contribute to long-term global energy sufficiency,” the NUPRC Chief stated.
To ensure the exercise achieved its set objective, the Commission CE restated the qualifications prospective bidders and investors are expected to possess, including that apart from technical and financial, and capability, all awardees, which may participate either as an individual company, or a consortium, must be duly registered in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
Komolafe said the licensing round process, which was formulated in recognition of global sustainability goals, would, in addition to technical and commercial considerations, pay the requisite attention to strategies, processes and implementable plans consistent with net zero carbon emission targets, eliminating gas flares as well as overall environmental, social and fovernance (ESG) considerations.
Since the Nigerian oil and gas industry has embraced the reality of the global energy transition, Komolafe said the country was taking a strategic position to leverage on the opportunities presented by the unfolding era.
As a regulatory agency, he said the NUPRC took deliberate steps to ensure that adequate attention was given to the reality of energy transition, including the recent issuance of guidelines for the management of fugitive methane and greenhouse gases emissions in the upstream oil and gas operations in Nigeria during the COP27 in Egypt in a manner, which attracted wide international commendation for Nigeria.
Regardless, Komolafe said the Commission took cognizance of the reality that recent events around the globe indicated that fossil fuels would continue to be a core part of the global energy mix well into the future, even beyond the 2050 set by most countries as target for achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
In addition, the recent increase in the price of energy, mostly as a result of the Russia and Ukraine conflict and the ensuing energy disruption, he noted, have reawakened the call for geo-political energy security and sustainability.
On December 22, 2022, the NUPRC announced the formal opening of the 2022/2023 Mini Bid Round.
This follows the award of 57 marginal oil fields in 2021 to indigenous operators under the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round, promote more indigenous participation in the exploration, exploitation and development of the country’s oil and gas industry.
Under the Mini Bid Round, Komolafe said to be organised in compliance with the regulatory provisions in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, guidelines have been issued for bids on seven deep offshore open oil blocks.
The deep offshore acreages, namely Petroleum Prospecting Licenses PPLs-300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, and 306 cover an area of approximately 6,700 square kilometers in water depths of between 1,150 metres and 3,100 metre.
The Commission CEO said these oil blocks intended to be the first in a series of bid rounds to further develop the country’s prospective petroleum basins.
The bid round, he said, was within the context of the country’s enhanced legal and regulatory frameworks, as enshrined in Section 73 of the PIA, which seeks to encourage new investors and investments into the next phase of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria.
Komolafe said the outcome of the 2023 exercise was expected to outperform the previous bid round held in April 2007 during which a total of 45 oil blocks were put on offer under a different regulatory regime (the Petroleum Act, 1969).
In line with the provisions of the PIA, he said the Mini Bid Round would be managed by the NUPRC, supported by its National Data Repository (NDR) and multi-client partners underpinned by high-quality datasets.
The blocks on offer, he disclosed, have extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage, including multi-beam and analog data as well as a 3D MegaSurveyPlus reprocessed Pre-stack Time Migration of remarkable quality available to prospective bidders.
During the conference participants were taken through the guidelines for the award and operations of Petroleum Prospecting Licenses (PPL) in deep offshore Nigeria, alongside other vital information that provide details regarding the oil blocks on offer and the procedural stages of the bid process.
Komolafe said the bid exercise scheduled to last for approximately four months, would cover the registration & pre-qualification; Data Prying/Purchase;
Technical Bid Submission/Presentatio n;Technical Bid Evaluation, a ndCommercial Bid Conference phases.
The bid exercise was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, while the bid round portal was officially opened on January 3, 2023.