The leadership of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC), as well as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), have been officially inaugurated by the Federal Government.
With this development, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and Petroleum Products Pricing Authority (PPPRA) have ceased to exist and their assets and liabilities transferred to the new agencies.
Timipre Slyva, minister of state for Petroleum Resources while speaking at the inauguration of the chief executives of the agencies, which was held at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Abuja, said the event is historic as it marked the beginning of a new era in oil and gas industry.
According to him, both regulatory agencies have effectively taken off after their chief executives have collected their letters.
With the new law, he said, the Federal Government is expecting a lot of growth in the oil and gas, which has been inactive for a long time while investors are watching at a distance.
The minister stated that the PIA has clarified the legal framework around the sector and the agencies and that he does not see anything now stopping investors from coming because the country has been lucky to have very competent industry people with proven experience.
The two agencies can hit the ground running, Nigeria should brace up for exponential growth in the oil and gas, he said.
On the fate of DPR, PEF, and PPPRA, he explained that it remains a matter of law, as the PIA states that all the assets and even the staff of the agencies would be vested in the Commission and Authority. Meaning that, they don’t exist again, because the acts establishing them have been repealed. “However there would be staff rationalization. But the staff of both the agencies would be coming from the defunct agencies and the process of absolving them would take some time.”
Dr Nasir Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources while making his remark urged all the staff of the defunct agencies not to be afraid over their future, saying that everyone would be fairly treated
He assured the staff and the CEOs that that the transition process has been fine tuned in such a way that it would be hitch free because the minister is providing the leadership in this case to ensure that everything is done fairly.
In his reaction to this development , Gbenga Komolafe, who is now at the helms of affairs at NURP reassured Nigerians that the enactment of PIA would usher in massive turnaround in the activities of the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
He said his mean focus would be how to ensure that there is enhance production activities in Nigeria so that she would be able to her OPEC quota and also deliver to Nigerians 21st centaury regulatory commission.
As regards the desire to exit the onshore and shallow onshore assets by OICs, he stated that the exercise remains purely an investment decision but that the companies would be engaged to understand their challenges and see how the commission can intervene.
Farouk Ahmed in his own remark who is the new CEO of NMDPRA, he said that he would give a lot of attention to gas development which would lead to job creation and attract investment to the sector.
By Olusola Bello