The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has signed seven oil regulations. This is part of the efforts of the Federal Government to boost metering of crude oil operations in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The new regulations signed by the agency are Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Measurement Regulations; Frontier Basins Exploration Fund Administration Regulations; Production Curtailment and Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation Regulations; Nigeria Upstream Decommissioning and Abandonment Regulations; Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Unitisation Regulations; Gas Flaring, Venting and Methane Emission (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations and Significant Crude Oil and Gas Discovery Regulations.
Gbenga Komolafe, NUPRC Chief Executive, said the regulations would close the metering gap in upstream petroleum operations; encourage accelerated meter roll out in upstream operations; encourage development of independent and competitive meters used in the upstream; attract private investment in provision of metering services and ensure accurate measurement of petroleum as a basis for the calculation of petroleum revenue accruable to the government.
The regulations would also provide general rules for curtailment and utilisation of petroleum in relation to export and domestic crude oil supply obligation.
Being a key requirement of the Petroleum Industry Act, the development came at a time Nigeria is battling crude oil theft.
Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), at the signing ceremony, said while the country is resorting to borrowing, over $46.16 billion of oil remains stolen or unaccounted for in recent years.
Loopholes in regulations, including lack of metering of oil output, has been blamed for the development, over the years, even as the country has no exact figure on crude oil output and other industry data.
Also, speaking at the occasion, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, said from 2009 to 2020, Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil, totaling about $46.16 billion.
While the country is borrowing to finance infrastructural projects, the $46.16 billion is higher than the current external debt of Nigeria, which stands at about $41.8 billion.
He said the development was only tracked from eight companies that were willing to volunteer data.“There is no nation that I am aware of that can survive with this kind of arrangement.”