PIA: Senate confirms NURC board, DPR ceases to exist

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Days for continued existence of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as one of the regulatory agencies in the petroleum sector are numbered with confirmation of the appointment of board members of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) by the Senate Wednesday.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said DPR ceases to exist once the approved board of NURC swings into action.

NURC is one of the creations of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for liberalisation of the oil and Gas Industry .

President Muhammadu Buhari in line with provisions of the act , forwarded to the Senate for confirmation, appointments of chairman and executive commissioners of the commission last week which was approved in plenary Wednesday .

Implication of establishment of the commission on continued existence of DPR came to the fore when Senator Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North ) while making contributions on the Revised 2022 – 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) , said DPR should no longer be subjected to control of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC).

The Senate President in his reaction to Utazi’s comment said : ” “We need to get the laws passed right. The question of DPR being controlled by the NNPC will not arise again once the NURC swings into action.

“The DPR in a nutshell will cease to exist the moment the approved board of NURC start working “, he said.

Members of the board of commission confirmed as recommended in the report presented by the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) , are Isa Ibrahim Modibbo as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe as chief executive; Hassan Gambo as executive commissioner, Finance and Accounts; and Ms Rose Ndong as executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.

Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, in his presentation, said the nominees demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the workings of the petroleum industry, especially the upstream petroleum sector, as well as the economics of petroleum exploration and production.

He added that the appointments of the nominees satisfy the requirements of Sections 11 and 18 (1-5) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

The lawmaker stated that: “There are no adverse reports against the nominees as record checks and other forms of investigations by security agencies did not reveal any negative trace against them.”

Akpan stated that the committee was satisfied about the qualifications, experience, suitability, competence and integrity of the nominees to assume the position of chairman, chief executive and executive commissioners of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the establishment of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission would provide a foundation for the stabilisation of the petroleum industry in Nigeria.

He said, “The commission has the enormous and huge responsibility of setting and establishing the commission as provided in the Petroleum Industry Act.

“They have the unenviable responsibility of ensuring that they commit themselves and work hard to provide the solid and stable foundation for that matter, that they don’t waste any time because time is of essence.

“This commission is one of the huge arms of those reforms that will stabilise the petroleum industry in Nigeria.

“We expect that the other regulatory authority for downstream and midstream will also be confirmed as soon as possible, so they also start their work immediately,” he said.

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