NMDPRA Urges Stakeholders to Fast-Track PIA Implementation
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has urged stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to fast-track the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari had, on August 16, 2021, assented to the Act that had been in contention for almost 20 years.
The Authority’s Chief Executive, Mr Farouk Ahmed, represented by Mr Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, at a General Counsel and Legal Advisers (GCLA) Forum, in Abuja, said that it requires the complete commitment of all stakeholders to meet the objectives of the PIA.
“I am not oblivious to the major policy shift that the implementation of the PIA has necessitated, which may have significantly impacted our business models.
“I dare say it might take a while to fully adjust and change our modus operandi.
“You will agree with me that to meet the objectives of the PIA, we require complete commitment from all stakeholders.
“To fast-track the implementation of the PIA, all stakeholders must adhere to the provisions of the law.
“In situations where ambiguities or lacunas exist, engagements such as this forum must be encouraged to seek clarity and deepen collaboration,’’ he said.
Mr Ahmed said that the forum was to engender and enhance collaborative relationships between the authority as the regulator and the legal practitioners in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
He added that the forum was also a continuation of the authority’s drive to constantly engage with various industry stakeholders.
Mr Ahmed said the law made it clear in sections 25 and 48 that regulations of upstream operations and midstream/downstream operations were exclusive to Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and NMDPRA, respectively.
He said the NMDPRA and the NUPRC were not performing the same function; as such, those dealing with defunct regulators must understand that the two agencies were not the same.
According to him, beyond the restructuring of the regulatory agencies, the law also requires the restructuring of companies and operations in the industry.
He reminded the stakeholders that the provisions in the law were not done in isolation but with a clear target, which is the remodeling of the oil and gas value chain in Nigeria.
“This is by creating distinct midstream business entities which had previously been subsumed in upstream operations.
“It is on the above note that I directed the incorporation of midstream entities before August 30, 2023 in line with section 302 (3).
“Such separation will ensure a clear and distinct midstream which has been highlighted earlier as one of the cardinal expectations of the PIA.
“It will also provide a clearer line of sight and focus on the deepening of the midstream, which is one of our core mandates,’’ he said.
The NMDPRA chief urged the stakeholders to keep an open mind, as the forum would enlighten and provide more clarity on roles and expectations in line with the PIA.
He said that the forum would also help to promote the business and investment opportunities derivable from the licences, permits and authorisations issued by the authority.
“The forum will as well be addressing legal concerns arising from the implementation of the PIA and the Authority’s regulations.
“We also hope to hear from you to enable us to understand your concerns as we work together on the PIA implementation journey.’’