The Nigerian Senate has resolved to summon the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) as well as representatives of the federal government to explain the paucity of funds to explore and develop new frontier acreages.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Jarigbe Jarigbe, who made this known on Friday during an interaction with journalists after a closed-door session with the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, and his team, said the Committee will also look into the possibility of auctioning some gas fields.
“We received briefing from the CEO of NUPRC and his team on the activities of the agency. Section 9 subsections 4 and 5 provide that the NUPRC should have a Frontier Acreages Escrow Account for the exploration and development of frontier acreages and that fund is subject to the approval of the National Assembly,” the Senator said.
“Also, Section 22(1) of the Petroleum Industrial Act also provides that the National Assembly has oversight of 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 per cent oil profit and 30 per cent gas profit as provided for in Section 9(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 figures. We will get the details of that and get back.”
Also addressing journalists, the NUPRC CEO stressed that gas, like oil, was very crucial to revenue generation, adding that Nigeria’s 208 trillion cubic feet of gas had positioned it as having the largest reserve in Africa and ninth globally.
“Aside from the fact that gas has been recognised as a transition fuel, for us in the commission, we are focused on wrapping up our gas production.”
He added that Nigeria was gradually gaining strength in its gas production, and that efforts were being made to ensure production translates to increased revenue.
“From our dashboard, we recorded 206 tcl of gas last year, and 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 daily gas production.
“As a commission, we recognise the importance of gas to the nation, and in our regulatory activities, we are giving critical focus to accelerating gas production.
“The commission at the moment is trying to look at fields that have undeveloped gas opportunities. 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 transparently auction those fields.
“We believe that exercise will catalyse us as a nation to effectively derive the benefit of gas instead of just keeping those reserves.”