Business - Business & Economy - News - Oil & Gas - August 2, 2022

PIA: Stakeholders consult on laws to boost mid, downstream oil, gas industry investments, growth

By Bassey Udo

Operators, policy makers, regulatory authorities and other agencies affiliated to the management of the mid and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry met on Monday in Abuja to consult on various laws and regulations in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) guiding their operations.

The Authority Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, said the forum was to fulfill a key promise of the PIA, for industry stakeholders to participate in the making of regulations that impact their businesses.

Ahmed said the consultative forum aligned with Section 216 of the PIA mandating the Authority to ‘consult with stakeholders prior to finalising any regulations or amendments to regulations’.

He described the forum as a part of the agency’s regulatory philosophy to ensure continuous engagements with stakeholders on regulatory and
operational issues, to promote their businesses.

At the inception of the Authority August 2021, ten regulations, covering various aspects of the midstream and downstream industry operations, were published for industry stakeholders to review and come forward with feedbacks for consideration.

They included the regulations on Petroleum (Transportation and Shipment); Assignment and Transfer of Licence and Permit; Midstream and Downstream Petroleum
(Operations); Petroleum Pipeline, as well as Gas Pricing Domestic Demand and Delivery.

Others were those on Natural Gas Pipeline Tariffs; Midstream and Downstream Decommissioning
and Abandonment; Environmental Regulations for Midstream and
Downstream Operations; Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure
Fund, and Environmental Remediation Funds.

Ahmed announced the issuance of two additional regulations in the next phase for stakeholder consultations.

These include regulations on Petroleum Measurement as well as Midstream and Downstream Petroleum (Safety).

Identifying these regulations as an integral part of the process to operate the PIA, the Authority CEO pledged to ensure its policies would enable investments and ease of doing business, create employment opportunities for Nigerians and prevent undue burdens on its partners.

He assured that priority would be to ensure these regulations were primary enablers of the Federal
Government’s Decade of Gas initiative, help catalyse investments and enhance the attractiveness of the domestic gas value chain.

“We are also conscious of the fact that effective Regulations must, amongst many outcomes, ensure fairness, equity, transparency, and certainty for all players in the
regulatory space.

“It is therefore necessary that we give undivided attention to this process, as the success and quality of our deliberations would significantly determine how our Industry evolves in the near future.

“Our collective actions have direct
impact in unlocking the main energy provision sector of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

He pledged to ensure the Authority remained fully committed to the implementation of the fundamental objectives of the PIA for optimisation of value creation
across the Midstream and Downstream value chain.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), which was created by the PIA, was responsible for technically and commercially regulating both the mid- and downstream operations in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.

With the consultation with stakeholders on industry operational regulations, the Minister said the Authority has now fully assumed its roles.

He reiterated the responsibilities of the Authority as provided for under Sections 33 and 216 of the PIA, mandating it to consult with relevant stakeholders prior to finalizing and making any regulations concerning the processing, refining, transmission, distribution, supply, sale and storage of petroleum products, or any other matters relating to activities of mid- and down-stream petroleum operations.

Sylva said the Buhari administration understands the need to have an all-encompassing, well thought-out, and unambiguous regulatory instruments that are developed to meet the present and future aspirations of the government.

Regular engagements with stakeholders in developing regulations, processes and procedures, he said, would help attract investments and create opportunities in the sector.

He expressed the hope that the regulations would midwife the final regulatory instruments for the development of the imperatives for sectoral growth and industry performance, to fortify the mid- and down-stream oil and gas sector towards promoting energy security, economic growth and stability, as well as sustainable development.

Participants at the forum included representatives of the Ministries of Petroleum Resource, Justice, Finance, Budget, and National Planning as well as the various committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and gas) in the National Assembly; the CEO of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Resources Commission (NUPRC); the Group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited; the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and his counterpart in the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI); MDs/CEOs of Oil and Gas Companies as well as Representatives of Host Communities.

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