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Senate Summons NNPC Over 60% Frontier Acreages | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Oct 27, 2023



The Senate Committee on Gas has announced plans to summon officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Limited to explain why it has yet to provide funding for the exploration and development of new frontier acreages.

Chairman of the Committee, Jarigbe Jarigbe said this at a media briefing shortly after meeting behind closed doors with the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, and his team.

Recall that the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, 2021, introduced the Frontier Exploration Fund to support exploration and development in Nigeria’s frontier acreages.

Some of these acreages are situated in areas/ regions like Anambra, Benue, Dahomey, Bida, Sokoto, Chad and other areas where hydrocarbon exploration is yet to take place.

The PIA makes provisions for the funding of such ventures. The fund is to consist of 30 percent of NNPC’s “profit oil and profit gas” from various contracts, which will be used to pay for the exploration and development activities.

Jarigbe said, “We received a briefing from the CEO of NUPRC and his team on the activities of the agency.

“Section 9 subsection 4 and 5 provides that the NUPRC should have a Frontier Acreages an exco account for the exploration and development of frontier acreages and that fund is subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

“Also, section 22 subsection 1 of the Petroleum Industrial Act also provides that the National Assembly oversights the budget and expenditure of the NUPRC.

“So, we had to interact with the commission on those issues and we discovered that there is no fund raised from 30 percent oil profit and 30 percent gas profit as provided for in Section 9 subsection 4 of the PIA.

“We also intend to engage with the NNPCL on that. We don’t know the budget because we weren’t given any figure. We will get details on that and get back.”

Members of the committee earlier noted that gas was becoming the main alternative source of funding for nations blessed with it.

Nigeria they explained can I’ll afford to miss out of the race to fully benefit for this God given resource hence the need to make hay while the sun still shines.

Earlier, the CEO OF NUPRC Gbenga Komolafe, reechoed this sentiment in his intervention.

He said, “Gas is very crucial in the revenue generation of our country, just like oil, it is equally very critical.
“Aside from the fact that gas has been recognised as a transition fuel and for us in the commission, we focus on rapping up our gas production.”

Kimolafe stated that Nigeria has “37 barrels of crude oil as it relates to gas, reserve number of 208 tcl of gas that makes us the largest gas reserve in Africa and the ninth globally.”

He claimed that Nigeria was gradually gaining strength in terms of gas production even though efforts were put in place to ensure production which would amount to revenue generation.

Komolafe further said, “From our dashboard, we recorded 206 tcl of gas last year, and in this year it grew to 208 tcl reserve as of September.
“In terms of production in 2021, we had 7.52 tcl of gas production, and in 2022, it declined to 6.9 tcl but as of September 30 this year, we recorded 7.07 tcl of our daily gas production.

“As a commission, we recognize the importance of gas to the Nation, and in our regulatory activities, we are giving critical focus to accelerating gas production in the country. “

The NUPRC Chief Executive futher said, “The commission at the moment is trying to look at fields that have undeveloped gas opportunities, and as an internal initiative; we have been able to identify all those fields of uncommitted gas.

“We intend that by the time we finish with the ongoing engagement with the industry, we would be able to take those gas molecules into the basket and in line with the PIA and other provisions to transparently auction those fields.

“We believe that exercise will catalyze us as a nation to effectively derive the benefit of gas instead of just keeping those reserves.”

He, however, emphasized that the major challenge militating against gas production was a lack of funds as well the requisite infrastructure.

By John Alechenu

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