Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has officially declared the era of marginal fields and discretional oil block allocation in Nigeria over.
Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, made this known at the 2022 Strategic International Annual Conference organized by the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) in Lagos.
Appraising the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, represented by Dr. Abel Nsa, said the legislation signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 16, 2021, “has put an end to the era of the marginal field.”
“No marginal fields shall be declared under this era because the PIA provisions have foreclosed this as well as any discretionary allocation of oil blocks.
“Accordingly, the Minister shall now award Petroleum Protecting Licenses (PPL) on undeveloped fields following an open, fair, transparent, competitive, and non-discriminatory bidding process in line with Sections 73 and 74 of the Act,” he said.
Going down the memory lane, he said, “30 oil blocks have, so far, been awarded through the marginal oil fields programme. Of these, 2 blocks in 1999; 24 were awarded in 2004, two in 2010, and one before this year. As of today, 17 of these oil blocks are currently producing while 13 are not. The PIA has adequately addressed this, and PPLs have been awarded to firms based on merit.”
According to him, “the challenges of seamless production in the form of rampant crude theft and sabotage of critical infrastructure are still with us, and it has become one of the major issues we are addressing as a commission and government”.
He said the Commission had developed some key initiatives aimed at reducing the oil theft menace to the barest minimum in the short run, and eventual elimination in the long run.
He stated that there is a Road map for tackling the security challenges in the industry and the Commission is collaborating with the security agencies, for a robust security framework that ensures Government Security Forces (GSF) provide pipeline and asset security.
Meanwhile, he added, efforts are in place to promote the implementation of Nodal Surveillance Technologies on the main trunk lines at each manifold for real-time loss detection that will enable swift and more proactive responses, as we enforce installation of tamper detection technologies as part of designs for pipeline and related oil and gas production facilities for approval of the Commission.
He said the Commission was equally using public enlightenment campaign to educate citizens on the dangers associated with crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, in collaboration with relevant agencies such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
“We are planning seven additional regulations in line with provisions in the PIA to guarantee a return on every dollar invested in Nigeria over any other jurisdictions”, he concluded.
NSCDC Parades Five Suspects Over 24,000 Litres Of AGO
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) last Friday paraded five suspected oil thieves caught with over 24,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO) concealed in sack bags in Rivers State.
Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Michael Besong Ogar, while parading the suspects, reiterated that there was no room for illegal oil bunkering activities in Rivers State, warning that perpetrators would be smoked out of their hideouts.
Ogar said the newly-reconstituted anti-vandal team has made successes in the relentless war against vandalism of oil pipelines and illegal dealings in petroleum products through massive arrests and subsequent prosecution of cases in the court.
“The Commandant General, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has promised that in a short while there would be a drastic reduction and possible eradication of illegal dealings in petroleum products across the nation
“Our major task is to massively arrest oil pipelines vandals and their sponsors as we take the Anti-vandalism war to the enemies’ domain.
“The nation is losing millions of dollars per barrel due to the increase in pipelines vandalism and illegal oil bunkering, but I can assure you that this menace would be a thing of the past because we are fully committed to the mandate of the Corps’ in safeguarding all critical national assets and infrastructures.
“The suspects will be charged for contravening the Anti-sabotage Act, the Petroleum Act and the Miscellaneous offences Act 2004, laws of the Federation.
“They are: Ifegbu Uche ‘m’ aged 42years, Obinna Ogbonna ‘M’ 42years, Emmanuel Smart ‘m’ 19 years, Lawrence Gibson ‘m’ 35years, and Emeka Desmond ‘m’ 35years, who were arrested while conveying about 24,000 litres of illegally refined AGO concealed in sack bags and carefully packed in a Toyota Sequoia with plate number AbujaGWA386GVA; a Volkswagen Bus with Registration Number: Lagos APP 831 XX, which was intercepted at Abuloma Community in Port Harcourt, a Truck DA1700 with number plate KadunaXE653KA impounded at Abonnema Wharf, and a Ford E- 250 intercepted in Etche respectfully.
“We also intercepted and impounded another short white Mercedes truck with unquantified litres of illegally refined AGO along Ozuoba-Rumuigbo axis in Obio/Akpor LGA, Port Harcourt Rivers State.
“We are very excited that the court has resumed session as the suspects would definitely have their time in Court while application for forfeitures of the products and mode of conveyance would be made and proceeds be remitted in the Federal Government coffers,” NSCDC said.
Eni Decries Production Loss From Bayelsa Gas Pipeline Explosion
Eni, the Italian parent company to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), has said the impact of the Ogboinbiri/OB-OB gas pipeline explosion on gas output was significant.
Production data from NAOC shows that the incident cut Agip’s gas exports by 5million standard cubic meters per day.
Media Relations Manager, in charge of African Operations at Eni, Mr Domenico Spins, said the gas leak has been brought under control.
Spins in a statement announced that the incident was caused by sabotage and third-party interference.
“Eni confirms that a third party’s interference hacksaw cut caused a gas leak at the Ogbainbiri-Ob/Ob gas pipeline.
“The line is depressurised and is currently being repaired. Production losses due to the shutdown are important,” Eni stated.
The Director-General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Dr Idris Musa, who confirmed the pipeline blast, said the agency would lead an investigation into the incident as soon as it is safe to do so.
NOSDRA had also directed NAOC to shut down the oil and gas wells feeding the breached pipeline to extinguish the pressure and pave the way for a Joint Investigative Visit.
FG Confiscates 20m Litres Of Illegally Refined AGO
The Federal Government says the continued efforts by security agencies has led to the confiscation of over 20.2million litres of illegally refined Automotive Gasolme Oil (AGO), otherwise known as diesel.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Port Harcourt while carrying out an aerial survey of illegal refinery sites and hotspots along the Nembe Creek Trunk Line and the Trans-Niger Pipelines’ right of way on Friday.
Mohammed said over 210 suspects have been arrested in its efforts to combat crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region, lamenting that the activities of vandals and economic saboteurs have severely impacted the country’s crude oil production.
The Minister said over 461,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 843,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene, and 383,000 barrels of crude oil have also been confiscated.
He said an additional 365 illegal refining sites were destroyed, with about 1,054 refining ovens, 1,210 metal storage tanks, 838 dugout pits, and 346 reservoirs also destroyed.
“Since the post-covid pandemic recovery of crude oil prices, Nigeria has been unable to meet its OPEC Production quota, hurting the Nigerian economy.
“Due to the nefarious activities of vandals, Nigeria has been losing out on producing approximately 700,000 Barrels of oil daily. This volume is split between crude stolen and production deferment (shut-ins) due to legitimate fear of losing substantial volumes in transit.
“Terminal receipts have persistently declined, leading to decisions such as the Force Majure declared at the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal in March 2022,” he said.
The Minister also disclosed that the NNPC Ltd had set up a new security architecture to serve as a solid response to detect, deter, and respond to the activities of vandals.
He said the security architecture leveraged collaboration between the Upstream operators, Industry Regulators, Government Security Agencies, and Private Security Contractors.
He further said NNPC Ltd.’s Command and Control Centre has been set up for round-the-clock monitoring of petroleum operations and activities within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone.
According to him, all vessel movements within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone as well as all Ship-to-ship activities within the same zone are now monitored.
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