Executive Commissioner ER&SP, Kelechi Ofoegbu, who represented the Commission’s Chief Executive delivering his speech at the 2023 Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) says it would leverage on the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021 to unlock and unleash the full potential of the country’s upstream petroleum industry.
The Commission Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, who spoke at the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF 2023) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday said the PIA 2021 has so far enhanced the country’s Petroleum industry in general business landscape by providing a more transparent, efficient and investment-friendly regulatory framework.
The CCE was represented by the Executive Commissioner ER&SP, Kelechi O. Ofoegbu.
He said the new regulatory framework under the Act has opened the industry up for potential investors wishing to collaborate and build partnerships to unlock the full potential of the country’s upstream petroleum sector.
The renewed disposition, he explained, reflects the nation’s readiness to attract local and international investors with the necessary capacity to operate within the oil and gas space.
In line with the provisions of the PIA, the CCE said the Commission has developed priority regulations to reinforce meaning to the intent and objectives of the Act, by creating a predictable regulatory environment for would-be investors.
So far, he said five priority regulations have been gazetted, while 13 others have been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Justice for judicial review, with eight currently at various stages of development.
The theme of the annual conference, the fourth to be organised by the Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) was “The Oil and Gas Industry-Catalyst and Fuel for the Industrialization of Nigeria.”
The three-day conference, which attracted professionals and stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, as well as their international counterparts, has over time created a platform to showcase investment opportunities in the Nigerian petroleum sector.
“Nigeria’s role as a major player in the global oil and gas industry is certainly not in doubt. We are currently the highest oil producer in Africa and the second highest in terms of proven oil reserves, with a huge potential for growth.
“As of January 1, 2023, Nigeria boasts of 36.966 billion barrels of oil and Condensate reserves, and 208.83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, opening a large opportunity for investments in the upstream oil and gas sector.
“Despite the global clamour for decarbonization and energy transition, oil and gas remain relevant in the global energy mix, to guarantee energy security for our teeming population.
“In order to deliver on her commitments towards reduction of carbon footprints, Nigeria has adopted gas as a transition fuel and expects to significantly increase gas consumption during “the Decade of Gas” declared by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Komolafe said.
The adoption of natural gas as a transition fuel, he explained, was a boost for Nigeria with over 208 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas reserves that could be harnessed to help the country’s transition to Net Zero by 2060, while driving economic growth and development, thereby simultaneously tackling energy poverty and meeting the climate ambition.
He said the Commission has therefore intensified efforts to grow its gas reserves, boost production and eliminate routine gas flares in all upstream operations across the value-chain, while also dealing with methane capture and other fugitive gas emissions.
The significance of these efforts, he said would be that more gas would be available for domestic utilisation as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), feedstock for power generation plants, fertiliser plants and petrochemicals, etc.
Each of these areas, he pointed out, shows that gas would truly be the catalyst and fuel for industrialization as well as provide unique entry points for willing investors and opportunities to build capacity locally.
”The Commission as the upstream petroleum industry regulator, has embarked on the development of a regulatory framework for carbon-pricing system, to make businesses pay for their emissions and incentivize emission reductions through carbon credits.
Consequently, he announced the creation of a new “Energy Transition and Carbon Monetisation” Department in the Commission to coordinate the drive towards energy transition in the country’s oil and gas sector.
“The new department will drive the focussed implementation of robust regulatory framework for decarbonisation of upstream operations, introduction of clean mechanisms in field development, mitigation of impact of energy transition and ensure sustained investments in Upstream operations, whilst improving the environment credentials of oil and gas.
He expressed the hope that in a few months to come, the Commission should be able to share the vital lessons from the Nigerian transition success story to the global community.
“Since inception, the Commission has concluded and commenced various initiatives and programmes to create investment opportunities and enhance the development of the upstream oil and gas Industry in Nigeria, including the completion of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round and award of Petroleum Prospecting licences (PPL); initiation of the ongoing 2022/2023 mini-bid round for deep offshore assets, and re-commencement of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme.
He said in addition to these programmes, there were other ongoing opportunities for investors as NUPRC continues to implement strategic actions and initiatives aimed at increasing national crude oil and gas reserves and production.
In this regard, he said the Commission would in the coming weeks organise its Maiden Nigerian Upstream International Investment and Financial Roadshow (NUIIFR) for Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) for Awardees, NGFCP Bidders, and potential investors in the upcoming Mini-Bid Round for Deep Water Assets.
“The move is to explore funding opportunities and leverage capabilities of industry players, prospective Investors (local and offshore) to de-risk the assets and awards. The event will provide opportunity for participants to network, exchange ideas and chart strategic pathways to enhance investment opportunities,” he announced.