Senate Unveils Inquiry into Missing Funds Hindering Nigeria's Gas Frontier Growth

The Nigerian Senate is taking action to address the absence of funds for exploring and developing untapped gas territories as mandated by the Petroleum Industry Act. This investigation aims to shed light on the missing finances crucial for Nigeria's gas sector development and adherence to regulatory provisions.

Senate Investigates Lack of Funds for Frontier Acreage Development in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Senate has announced its intention to summon the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to address the absence of funds allocated for the exploration and development of new frontier acreages. This decision came to light following a closed-door session where the Senate Committee on Gas, led by Chairman Jarigbe Jarigbe, discussed the matter with Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

The Petroleum Industry Act of 2021 introduced the Frontier Exploration Fund, designed to support the exploration and development of untapped regions within Nigeria, such as Anambra, Dahomey, Bida, Sokoto, Chad, and Benue. These areas lack prior hydrocarbon exploration or remain underdeveloped. The Act mandates that 30% of the NNPCL’s "profit oil and profit gas" from various contracts should constitute this Fund to finance exploration and development activities in these frontier areas.

Jarigbe highlighted the Senate's concern regarding the absence of funds as outlined in the Act. The Senate's oversight responsibilities were discussed, emphasizing the need for clarity on the allocated budget, which was not provided during the briefing.

Lawmakers emphasized the vital role of gas in the country's economy, acknowledging its global significance. Gbenga Komolafe, CEO of NUPRC, stressed the importance of gas as a significant revenue source, noting Nigeria's substantial gas reserves. He underscored the commission's focus on enhancing gas production to bolster revenue generation, outlining their efforts to identify and exploit untapped gas fields transparently.

Komolafe pointed out that while there is a substantial gas reserve in Nigeria, the major hurdles hindering increased gas production are the lack of funding and infrastructure. The commission aims to address these challenges through ongoing engagements with the industry and intends to transparently auction undeveloped gas fields in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.

The Senate aims to engage further with NNPCL to seek clarity on the absence of allocated funds, recognizing the urgency to exploit the nation's gas reserves for economic sustainability and growth.

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