The first petroleum exploration license since the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 has been issued to TGS-PetroData Offshore Services Limited (TGS-PD), the Upstream Petroleum industry regulatory authority, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission (NUPRC) announced on Thursday.
The issuance of the license, the agency said, was in compliance with the provisions of Section 71 (1) – (10) of PIA, which contains the approved legal and regulatory frameworks guiding the operations in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Under the agreement executed between the NUPRC and TGS-PD, the licence gives the legal rights to the new licensee to carry out a Geophysical Survey Project for the acquisition of about 56,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic and gravity data from the oil concession.
The Commission celebrated the approval of the new operating license as another milestone in the smooth implementation of the PIA for the attraction of investments in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“Without data, reserves cannot be auctioned for development and revenue attraction,” the Commission Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, said.
Komolafe explained that multi-client survey data acquired by TGS-PD in partnership with the NUPRC under the new operating license was not proprietary, but speculative.
The Commission Chief Executive explained that the new licence authorises TGS-PetroData Offshore to carry out non-exclusive Petroleum Exploration Operations on a multi-client basis within the licensed area and permits the use of the acquired 3D seismic and gravity data by exploration companies.
Due to the specialised nature of the Geophysical Survey Vessel to be used for the acquisition of the 3D seismic and gravity data, the CCE said the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) granted no objection to TGS-PD to deploy the facility.
The acquisition of the 3D seismic and gravity data, he said, commenced on July 17, 2023, while the processed data would be available for use by mid-2024.
He said the scope of the Geophysical Survey Project included Phase 1 acquisition of about 11,900 square kilometres of new 3D seismic and gravity data in water depth ranging from 30 metres to 4000 metres offshore Niger Delta, in addition to acquisition of seismic and gravity data to improve the correlation of identified structures and reservoirs.
Phase 2 of the project, which has a record length of 14 seconds, is reputed to be the first of its kind in Nigeria,with image deeper reservoirs that have not been imaged offshore Niger Delta before now.
The other acquired seismic and gravity data, the Commission said, would be processed using the latest TGS proprietary technology, while the acquired data would be licensed to exploration companies.
The benefits Nigeria would derive from the new 3D seismic and gravity data acquisition, the NUPRC said, would include the availability of new regional 3D seismic and gravity data in deep waters ranging from 30 metres to 4000 metres offshore Niger Delta.
The Commission said it has the sole right and title over the acquired raw and interpreted data to be obtained by the licensee (TGS-PD) under a petroleum exploration licence, adding that the 3D seismic and gravity data belongs to the Nigerian Government.
Based on section 71(7) of the PIA, Komolafe said the Commission and Federal Government of Nigeria shall benefit from the revenue that would be generated from the data use licence that would be granted to interested exploration companies by TGS-PD.
The new 3D seismic and gravity data being acquired, the Commission said, would further provide an opportunity for understanding the regional petroleum system of the ultra-deep waters of Nigeria and unlock the hydrocarbon prospectivity of Nigeria’s frontier basins (Ultra-deep offshore).
Apart from the acquired 3D seismic and gravity data being useful in future deep water licencing rounds to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into oil and gas exploration in Nigeria, the Commission said opportunities would be created for increasing oil and gas reserves and production as well as create opportunities for Nigerian Content Development and employment of Nigerian professionals.