Upstream regulators deploys initiative to aid bid round awardees

The Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is planning a production based lending engagement to help some awardees of the 2020 Marginal Field Bid Round licences source needed capital to commence full field development towards hitting first oil.

This was revealed in a statement made available to BusinessDay on Tuesday signed by Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive which stated that this move will provide platforms for strategic partnership/alliance between the awardees and the service providers for Well Re-entry and drilling services.

The engagement which is planned to commence soon will be between the Commission, Petroleum Production Licence (PPL) Awardees, Exploration and Production (E&P) service providers and Nigerian Banks.

“The arrangement is to be offered on service fee recoverable by the service providers from production to be attached; the Commission has already concluded plans to organise an E&P International Financing Road show in Abuja in the coming weeks for financiers, investment bankers, private equities, and multi-lateral institutional investors,” it read.

Through this initiative, high value quick win opportunities available will be showcased to investors in the recent PPL awards, the on-going National Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, as well as the on-going Mini-bid awards.

The Commission has also developed a Corporate Governance Framework for upstream petroleum operations to ease the challenges thrown up by the initial corporate governance issues that arose before the inauguration of the Petroleum Industry Act (2021).

“The framework is currently at an advanced stage of internal review and stakeholder engagements required for its finalization; This is to enhance sustainability, environmental and corporate governance requirements and to facilitate capital attraction by investors for the optimal and efficient development of the PPLs and other assets,” it stated.

To facilitate dynamic data gathering and accelerate the achievement of ‘first oil’, the Commission initiated the revision of the subsisting Extended Well Test (EWT) Guideline to enhance early cash flow and speed up the journey to first oil.

The strategy has already yielded positive results with 16 companies submitting Field Development Plan (FDP), two already commencing unitization processes, six re-entries and two having gone through the EWT.

Bearing in mind the protracted dispute amongst some of the awardees triggered by shareholder disagreements and misunderstanding, the NUPRC is collaboratively engaging the parties and mediating to facilitate early closure and diligent progression towards achieving the expected regulatory milestones, including value creation and hitting first oil.

According to the statement, Since the award of 47 PPLs to solely Nigerian entities in June 2022, the Commission has made concerted efforts within the stipulations of the law, to provide statutory guidance and support towards the progression of the assets to field development.

“Steps taken include the convocation of Regulatory Induction Programme for PPL awardees to enable them have the requisite understanding of the statutory protocols from the award to first oil; and a week-long tripartite engagement in Lagos for all awardees and initial asset owners in December 2022 during which all impediments to the smooth take over by the awardees and operation to first oil was resolved,” it stated.

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