The Senate has said that it would invite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation limited over the lack of funds to explore and develop new frontier acreages.
The Senate through the Chairman, Committee on Gas, Jarigbe Jarigbe, made this known on Friday while briefing the press after a closed-door session with the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, and his team.
The Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 introduced the Frontier Exploration Fund to support exploration and development in Nigeria’s frontier acreages
These areas include regions like Anambra, Dahomey, Bida, Sokoto, Chad, and Benue where hydrocarbon exploration is yet to occur or remains undeveloped.
The PIA further stated that the Fund, constituting 30% of NNPC’s “profit oil and profit gas” from various contracts, will finance exploration and development activities in these frontier acreages.
Senator 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.”
He added “Also, section 22 subsection 1 of the Petroleum Industrial Act also provides that the National Assembly oversights the budget and expenditure of the NUPRC.
The lawmakers during the interactive session, noted that the issue of gas in the economy was becoming very important and inexplicable, like a resource that can sustain a nation.
They further noted that scientifically, the world is gravitating towards gas.
Earlier, the CEO OF NUPRC buttressed the lawmakers that “Gas is very crucial in the revenue generation of our country, just like oil, it is equally very critical.
“Aside from the fact that gas has been recognised as a transition fuel and for us in the commission, we focus on rapping up our gas production.”
Kimolafe stated that Nigeria has “37 barrels of crude oil as it relates to gas, reserve number of 208 tcl of gas that makes us the largest gas reserve in Africa and the ninth globally.”
He further claimed that Nigeria was gradually gaining strength in terms of gas production even though efforts were put in place to ensure production which would amount to revenue generation
He said, “From our dashboard, we recorded 206 tcl of gas last year, and in this year it grew to 208 tcl reserve as of September.
The NUPRC boss further noted that the agency recognised that given the development in the world and the unfolding of situation in the Middle East like Ukraine, they were ensuring that Nigeria produces more in other to ensure more gas production to allow for better revenue generation.
Komolafe noted, “The commission at the moment is trying to look at fields that have undeveloped gas opportunities, and as an internal initiative; we have been able to identify all those fields of uncommitted gas.
He, however, emphasised that the major challenge militating against gas production was a lack of funds and infrastructure.