Vanguard awards

May 3, 2024

Komolafe: Enabling oil, gas businesses

Komolafe: Enabling oil, gas businesses

By Udeme Akpan, Energy Editor

The Commission Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, is a thorough engineer, detailed lawyer and astute administrator. 

Engr. Komolafe, who was born in 1963 when Nigeria became a Republic had his primary and secondary education in Ondo State before going to the University of Ilorin for his first Engineering degree in 1987. In the next three years, he bagged two master’s degrees from the University of Ibadan. His first MSc was in Industrial and Labour Relations, while the second was in Industrial and Production Engineering. 

He bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Law in 2006, and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008 after successful completion of the Law School Education at the Bwari Law School in Abuja. Barrister Gbenga Komolafe has also been trained internationally at some of the finest institutions in the world, including the Oxford Princeton Energy Programme in the United Kingdom. He has also learned global best practices across countries such as the United States America, UAE, Canada, United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, India, and Australia.

However, Engr. Komolafe served in many key capacities, including as a Process Engineer on the Anambra State World Bank Project in 1987, Pioneer Managing Director of the Nigeria Pipeline and Storage Company, NPSC, Group General Manager, Special Duties and Group General Manager of the Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD within the NNPC, Executive Director, Commercial at the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, General Manager Operations for both the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF before becoming the first Commission Chief Executive of the NUPRC. 

Expectedly, Engr. Komolafe has so much to do as the pioneer CCE, a creation of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA 2021 with the primary objective of regulating the technical and commercial activities of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum sector. 

Under his watch, NUPRC developed regulations, giving meaning and intent to the PIA, to ensure that all bottlenecks associated with regulatory processes are eliminated or minimized, to entrench seamless upstream petroleum operations. 

The gazetted regulations are: Petroleum Licensing Round Regulations 2022, Petroleum Royalty Regulations 2022, Conversion and Renewal (Licences and Lease), Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Host Communities Development Regulations 2022, Domestic Gas Delivery Obligations Regulations 2022, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Measurement Regulations 2023, Production Curtailment and Domestic Crude supply Obligation Regulations, 2023, Frontier Basins Exploration Fund Administration Regulations, 2023, Nigeria Upstream Decommissioning and Abandonment Regulations 2023, Significant Crude Oil and Gas Discovery Regulations, 2023, Gas Flaring, Venting and Methane Emission (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations, 2023 and Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Unitization Regulations, 2023. 

The 14 draft regulations awaiting gazetting are: Upstream Petroleum Fees and Rent Regulations, Acreage Management Drilling and Production Regulations, Upstream Environmental Remediation Fund Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Safety Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Environmental Regulations, Upstream Petroleum Measurement Regulations, Advance Cargo Declaration Regulations, Draft Upstream Commercial Operations Regulations, Draft upstream Petroleum Code of Conduct & Compliance Regulations, Draft Upstream Petroleum Development Contract Administration Regulations, Draft Upstream Revocation of licences and Lease Regulations, Draft Upstream Petroleum Assignment of Interest Regulations, Draft Nigerian upstream Petroleum (Administrative Harmonisation) Regulations and Draft Amendment to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Host Communities Development Regulations 2022. 

The Commission has also held several Stakeholder Engagement on the Commission’s Draft Regulatory Framework for Energy Transition, Decarbonisation and Carbon Monetisation and incorporated the inputs arising from the engagements into the regulatory framework, which will not only govern the activities of the newly established Energy Transition and Carbon Monetisation Division of the Commission but those of the entire industry in considering Energy Transition in oil and gas field development. 

Engr. Komolafe, who sees his roles not only as a regulator but also as a business enabler, worked hard to attract many investors expected to boost investment in the nation. The reserves report as of 1st January 2022 shows an increase in oil and gas reserves. The Nation’s oil and condensate reserves status stood at 37.046 billion barrels, with a life index of 60 years representing a slight increase of 0.37% compared to 36.910 billion barrels as of 1st January 2021. On the other hand, the National Gas reserves status stood at 208.62 (trillion cubic feet) TCF with a life index of 80 years, representing an increase of 1.01% compared to 206.53 TCF as of 1st January 2021. 

He has taken deliberate steps to drive the Decade of Gas programme declared by the Federal Government through a more aggressive development of the Nation’s huge gas resources, enhanced exploration activities, development of utilization schemes leading to gas reserves growth, increased gas production, maturation of domestic and export gas markets, in addition to gas flare elimination and commercialisation through the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP). 

Engr. Komolafe has progressed additional initiatives, including collaboration with oil and gas operating companies, the service chiefs and heads of Nigerian Security agencies, to implement a lasting solution to the menace of crude oil theft in the interest of the nation. He completed the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round and issued Model Licences and Petroleum Prospecting Licenses to deserving awardees leading to early Field Development Plan, FDP and production from the awarded Marginal Fields in line with the provisions of the PIA 2021. 

Engr. has assisted a number of companies/fields in the attainment of first oil production within the period under review. Some of the fields include: Anyala field (First E&P), Ikike (Total), Efe field (Newcross), Utapate, (NEPL), and Akubo Field (SEEPCo). 

Also, Engr. contributed immensely to the funding of the Federation’s activities. In the year 2021, the total revenue generated was N2.9 trillion which signified a 44.82 per cent increase in revenue generated as compared to the 2020 figure which stood at N2.0 trillion. On the other hand, the total revenue generated in the year 2022 was N3.781 trillion which represents an increase of 30.38 per cent in revenue generated as compared to the 2021 figure. 

Under his leadership, the Commission in consultation with the Surveyor-General of the Federation has adopted a National Grid System for acreage management while collaboration with the NNPC Ltd, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria is expected to culminate in the establishment of the Frontier Basins Exploration Fund. 

Meanwhile, he has completed plans for the holding of the licensing round in 2024 in line with Section 73 of the nation’s PIA. 

The Engr. Komolafe-led Commission will optimise the functionality of automation systems by enhancing the efficiency of existing optimising tools and the streamlined deployment of new ones while collaborating with relevant government entities to grow oil and gas production in the best interest of all stakeholders, including investors and Nigeria.

These and other accomplishments make Engr. Komolafe the Vanguard Regulator of the Year.