The Senate committee on Gas has announced plans to summon officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited to explain why it was 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 ill afford to miss out of the race to fully benefit from this God given resource hence the need to make hay while the sun still shines.