HOW MARGINAL ARE THE MARGINAL FIELDS’ PROVISIONS UNDER THE PETROLEUM INDUCTRY ACT 2021?

by Adeoye Adefulu & Lateef Bamidele

The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (“PIA” or “Act”) introduced changes across the Nigerian petroleum industry, and one of such changes is the overhaul of the administration of marginal field assets. The Act set a deadline of 18 months (February 15, 2023) for the transition of the existing marginal field assets into the PIA terms[1] and put an end to the regime[2] which has hitherto enabled small and indigenous players to participate in the industry for about two decades. This article examines the transition mechanisms for this category of assets and what it portends for the industry operators.

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CRITICAL DEADLINES IN THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ACT 2021

close up photography of vintage watch

by Dr. Adeoye Adefulu & Oludamola Awobokun

The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA) provides timelines within which certain critical actions must be performed by holders of oil mining leases (OMLs) and oil prospecting licences (OPLs), awardees of marginal fields and settlors[1].

One year after the passage of the PIA, this article details the activities, relevant timelines (some of which have lapsed) & practical considerations, before opining on whether these timelines are realistic. This is done taking into consideration the relevance of the regulations and guidelines that are yet to be issued by both the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (“NUPRC” or the “Commission”) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA)[2], which ought to provide guidance in complying with the PIA.

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Implementing the Petroleum Industry Act 2021: One Year After (Warning – Long Post)

by Dr. Adeoye Adefulu & Lateef Bamidele

The apparently unending task of reforming Nigeria’s oil and gas industry which began in 2000 was finally laid to rest a year ago, when the President assented to the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (“Act” or “PIA”) on August 16, 2021. The industry welcomed the new law with mixed feelings, many believed the Act should have been finalized twenty years earlier to protect the industry from decline.

Despite this mixed reaction, it was clear that the Act had come to stay, and it brought with it sweeping changes and reforms across the institutional, regulatory, environmental, and fiscal frameworks of the Nigerian oil and gas sector. As one would have expected the implementation of these reforms commenced almost immediately, albeit slowly.

On the first anniversary of the PIA, it is useful to take a examine some of the noteworthy events and reforms undertaken and what they mean for the industry.

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Senate confirms the Board of the Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority

The Nigerian Senate today, 7th of October 2021 confirmed the appointment of Idaere Gogo Ogan (Chairman); Farouk A. Ahmed (Chief Executive Officer); Abiodun Adeniji (Executive Director, Finance and Accounts); and Ogbugo Ukoha ( Executive Director, Distributions System, Storage and Retail Infrastructure) as members of the board of the Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority.

Senate Confirms the Board of the Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission

The Senate on Wednesday 6th October 2021, confirmed the appointment of Isa Ibrahim Modibbo – Chairman; Engr. Gbenga Komolafe – Chief Executive; Hassan Gambo – Executive Commissioner, Finance and Accounts; and Ms Rose Ndong – Executive Commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management. The President is expected to appoint other non-executive members to the Board of the Commission, once the proposed amendment to the PIA is passed.

There are a number of tasks immediately before the Commission including – staffing the Commission appropriately; instituting change management; publishing draft regulations and guidelines; publishing the domestic base price for natural gas.

Nigeria begins implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021

Since the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (“PIA”) on August 16, 2021, several noteworthy developments have taken place, which we highlight below.

  • The Federal Government sets up PIA Implementation Committee
  • NNPC becomes a limited liability company
  • The President and Minister of Petroleum Resources constitutes board of the Regulatory Institutions
  • The President seeks to amend the PIA

The Federal Government sets up PIA Implementation Committee

On Thursday, 19th of August 2021, the Federal Government inaugurated the steering committee for the implementation of the PIA, headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva. The implementation structure is made up of the Steering Committee to be supported by an Implementation Working Group/Coordinating Secretariat (“IWGCS”) for effective and timely implementation of the PIA during the transition to the new petroleum industry regime.