….FG committed to deregulation, says Sylva
By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
The Director-General of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Engr. Sarki Auwalu has disclosed that the department generated N2 trillion for the country in 2020, despite the downturn in the oil and gas industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Auwalu who made this disclosure in Abuja on Thursday at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers Oloibiri Lecture Series, said the DPR has grown to become a business enabler for the industry in Nigeria.
This year’s edition of the OLEF, the 30th in the series, had the theme: Operational Excellence and Portfolio Optimization, a way forward for the oil and gas industry post-COVID-19.
Auwalu who noted that the business environment in the industry remained fragile, charged operators to eliminate inefficiencies by reducing cost, building partnerships and entrenching collaboration in the industry.
He said the department currently runs a progressive regulatory regime that incentives compliance and reward performance rather than place emphasis on infractions and penalties.
“Like I usually say to my colleagues, we want more royalties, not penalties; we want to see compliance kudos rather than non-compliance notices; we want to catch our duty holders doing something right not something wrong. In fact, our aim is to ensure that regulations and industry guidelines are issued and applied in a manner that reflects good oil field practise, internationally acceptable standards and are responsive to challenging and changing industry dynamics and global realities”, he added.
Engr. Auwalu stated that DPR has consistently exceeded the government’s revenue target by embracing systems and processes that ensure transparency and accountability in oil and gas revenue generation, computation, collection and reconciliation, as well as legacy debts recovery.
“Last year alone”, he stated, “We have generated over N2 trillion for this country and we intend to exceed this value for this year”.
In his state of the industry address, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva reiterated the Federal Government commitment to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry with a market-driven price of premium motor spirit, petrol.
Chief Sylva whose address was presented by his Chief of Staff, Engr. Moses Olamide urged the SPE members to brace up to play a crucial role in the industry with the expected passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, this year.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari said the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led the oil and gas industry into cost-cutting and survival strategies.
Represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye, Mallam Kyari observed that “the industry was forced to curtail spending as it grappled with the challenges of sustaining current production levels, drilling operations, funding future growth and maintaining positive cash flow.
“There have also been declining investments in oil and gas explorations which will further affect the growth in the market”, he added.
He pointed out that in Nigeria, “the focus has been on increasing oil production, growing domestic gas utilization and maturing hydrocarbon reserves to generate revenue for the nation.
“We are also determined to increase downstream market share to guarantee energy security, investment in petrochemicals and fertilizer plants, promote the use of CNG and LPG as auto-fuels and increase domestic refining capacity”.