The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Petroleum Commission (NURPC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, at the weekend, reiterated that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has ushered in a robust fiscal regime, thereby opening lots of investment opportunities in Nigeria’s oil sector.
He also reassured Nigerians that the new leadership of the organisation was ready to confront the emerging challenges in the industry.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Petroleum Regulators’ first Golf Invitation Tournament, at the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Maitama, Abuja, Komolafe stated that with the PIA, most of the bottlenecks to investment in the sector were being removed.
He pointed that the tournament was organised since there is a positive correlation between physical health and productivity, adding that it was in realisation of that that the NURPC put together the sports event with its sister agency, the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (MDPRA) .
“The feedback we are getting from the engagements we have been having have been quite positive. We understand what is happening regardless of the developments in the outside world, especially as it relates to the energy transition, the outcome of COP26.
“We’ve been trying to balance that with the fact that the PIA has offered very robust fiscal regime, an attractive fiscal regime so that there are still quite a lot of investment opportunities in Nigeria’s oil sector, regardless of the challenges presented by the energy transition.
“We understand that human endeavours are fraught with challenges. And we are quite prepared to face the challenges. As a matter of fact, life without challenges will be very boring. So we are prepared for the challenges,” he said.
Komolafe emphasised that the event would afford the industry operators the opportunity for networking, maintaining that it would also enable the new agencies interact and face the challenges together.
“You will agree with me that golf is a very popular sport all over the world and one of the benefits, apart from the health benefits is that it is a means for social connectivity.
“Aside the fact that it is for networking and connecting with investors, golf provides that easy opportunity and a forum for you to achieve that. This is not just for the NUPRC workers, it is a jointly organised event between the two newly created agencies under the PIA,” he stressed.
According to Komolafe, events like the golf event would also prepare industry workers, both physically and mentally for the job ahead, explaining that the engagements will be a continuous exercise.
“We just marked the first 30 days of our resumption of office and we’ve been able to engage investors, both International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the independent producers. So this event presents a very good platform to advance such initiative,” he stated.
In his comments, the Chief Executive Officer of the MDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, urged Nigerians to stop the panic buying of petrol and avoid acting on speculations.
“I would like to assure everybody that this is mere speculation, as you have put it. There will be no increase in pump price, not in the near future.
“This is peak consumption period for Nigerians. Our focus must be on the average Nigerian who is in the streets, who is travelling now. You don’t increase pump price arbitrarily like that.
“So, the pump price will be maintained. And Nigerians will feel free to travel. But having said that, yes, there are issues. Last two week, the chief executive led for the first time, every major player under the same roof.
“We raised the issues, the issues were addressed as much as we could. And we all left with happy faces and handshakes,” he stressed.
Represented by the Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure, Ogbugo Okuoha, Ahmed pointed out that even the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had assured that there would be sufficient supply during the entire period, reassuring that all the issues were being resolved.
“So, I would like to assure everybody, that there will be no price increase. As the issues arise, the management of the authority will keep addressing them. And we hope that every player will stick to that,” he said.
On the host communities’ fund, he stressed that a major highlight was that the fund allows host communities who bear the brunt of the spillage, to now have direct funds allocated to them and create priorities on how to use the funds to improve their areas.
“Now, the significant thing about the act, which a lot of people don’t see is that that fund is collateralised to good behaviour. If there is vandalism within the host community, the cost of remediation of repairs of the infrastructure will be deducted from the host communities’ fund.
“So with that kind of provision, it is expected that every player will be of good behaviour. That’s moving forward,” he added.
He assured that the workers needn’t worry about their jobs, as the PIA as well as the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had repeatedly said that no jobs would be lost.
On gas, Ahmed reiterated that the PIA now allocates 0.5 per cent of all real bulk sale of petroleum products to the fund, noting that with that, gas infrastructure will be developed.
“When you open the market, there will be competition and price will crash. Significant increase in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is regrettable, but the facts are out there. The variables are there. We have abundant gas that we shouldn’t have that price, but the issues will have to be addressed as well, whether it’s the dollar issue and all that,” he said.
On the question of an equalisation fund for gas, he reiterated that the PIA provides that the market has to be liberalised at some point, saying that pegging of prices would contradict the law.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja