Non-Compliance With DPR Regulations, Major Setback In Downstream Sector -DPR

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has decried the high level of non-compliance with the regulatory framework of the downstream sector by some key stakeholders.

The acting Director of the DPR, Mr Ahmad Shakur, said this at the Annual General Meeting of the Owerri zone of the DPR with stakeholders in the downstream sector last week.

Shakur, who was represented by the Head of the Downstream Monitoring and Regulation, Mr Alaku Musa, said the trend had constituted major setbacks in the industry.

He stressed the need for collaboration amongst stakeholders in order to drive compliance.

He said the industry had been plagued with various challenges of operations and regulation including sub-optimal refining capacity utilisation, long-time neglect and under-utilisation of inland depots.

He added that this had given rise to an increase in importation of petroleum products at exorbitant costs.

Shakur said DPR had consciously embraced emerging trends by initiating and implementing several projects and activities starting with the automation of some processes and procedures to address challenges.

He said the introduction of digital technology to improve operations could change the oil and gas industry landscape, especially in driving economic viability and the future of the sector.

The director further stated that the department intended to use this to drive transformation through optimising their regulatory roles ranging from inspections, surveillance to monitoring compliance and enforcement.

While reassuring new and existing businesses, he reiterated the call for compliance with  regulations and guidelines, especially as it concerned safety in various operations.

He warned that the department would not hesitate to use every regulatory tool at its  disposal to ensure compliance.

Earlier, the Owerri Zonal Operations Controller, Mr Peter Ijeh, said the meeting was aimed at engaging and sensitising stakeholders to  applicable regulatory requirements to promote ease of doing business.

Ijeh expressed the hope that the meeting would proffer solutions and consolidate the gains of the downstream sector.

He said the meeting would create awareness for the public, stakeholders and financial institutions on the opportunities in the downstream sector and educate consumers on their rights.

The controller stressed the need to embrace emerging trends and also for end users to adopt the highest safety standards in the consumption of petroleum and gas products.

Participants in the workshop included operations controllers of the five southeast states, petroleum dealers and representatives of their associations as well as financial institutions.


Aiteo, Host Communities Face-Off: Petroleum Ministry Seeks Out Of Court Resolution

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has intervened in the ongoing litigation by Nembe Communities, hosts to Oil Mining Lease (OML 29).

The OML, was supposed to be renewed on June 30.

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa had on June 24 declined an application to halt the renewal of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 pending, the determination of a suit by Nembe communities in Bayelsa.

The OML 29 host communities are seeking an environmental audit of the impact of the oil field on the host communities, and the implementation of the social obligations of the host communities by the operator of the oil block amongst others.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Counsel to the plaintiffs, M.A. Eyinda told the court that officials of Ministry of Petroleum Resources had proposed an amicable resolution of the face-off.

He explained that the Ministry had prepared a draft Memorandum of Understanding for resolution of all the issues in the suit by the parties, and sought the input of the communities at a meeting scheduled for August 27 which did not hold.

However, Counsel to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr Agbade Agbade said that although he was aware of the disposition of his client for an out of court settlement, he had no update to give the court without recourse to his client.

Eyinda expressed the desire of the plaintiff to continue with their case while hoping that the settlement option proposed by the Petroleum Ministry materialises.

The lease expired on June 30, while the operator of the oilfields had commenced renewal formalities with the payment of 82 million dollars to the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Justice Awogboro Abimbola, heard four pending applications to be joined in the suit from Bayelsa communities.

Abimbola adjourned the case until Oct. 12 for ruling on the pending application to be joined.

The judge also fixed Oct. 18 for continuation of hearing on the substantive suit.

Some 40 chiefs from Nembe communities seeking to join the suit besieged the court premises and filled the courtroom to the brim.

The plaintiffs are: Ikaonaworio Eferebo-Igoma, Iyerite Chiefson Awululu-Atubu, Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh, Markson Amaegbe-Orutari, B.C. Benwari-Yousuo and Doibo Evans representing OML 29 host communities.

The defendants are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.

Others are Aiteo Exploration and Production Ltd, Attorney-General of Bayelsa and The Deeds Registrar, Bayelsa Ministry of Lands.

NAN reports that Shell Petroleum Development Company in 2015 divested its equity in OML 29 and transferred its interest in the oil block, including NCTL for 1.7 billion dollars to Aiteo.

However, the host community, said the divestment was done “without resolving the untold negative impact of their operations on the people”