The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has said that butane lifting operations at the Bonny River terminal are legitimate and in line with the statutory mandate of the commission.
The commission added that it is not aware of any illegality in the transaction and none was committed by either ExxonMobil Nigeria and its affiliates or the NUPRC as an agency of government.
“Concerning the issue of Butane lifting at the Bonny River Offshore Terminal (BRT), it is important to state that ExxonMobil formally applied to NUPRC for approval of its operations as an integrated operation, in line with Sections 8(d) and 318 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, Following careful evaluation of the request, NUPRC deemed it fit and granted approval accordingly,” it stated.
This is coming a few days after the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) wrote to the chief of defence staff informing him of the illegal butane lifting operations taking place at Bonny River Terminal under the purview of ExxonMobil.
According to the letter seen by BusinessDay, ExxonMobil was said to have illegally destroyed the locks on the sea-line valve whose keys are in the custody of the NMDPRA and hence sought action from the security chief.
However, the NUPRC on Wednesday said ExxonMobil applied and obtained necessary clearance from NUPRC for the lifting of 12,600 metric tonnes of Butane aboard a vessel named Barumk Gas on May 26, 2023.
“Barumk Gas berthed at the loading jetty at BRT on June 7, 2023. Loading operation commenced and ended on June 8, 2023; after which an official of NUPRC on site (at the BRT) issued Certificate of Quantity and Quality (CoQ), as statutorily required for the fulfillment of requirements of accurate hydrocarbon accounting, reporting and ability of the vessel to sail to its delivery destination, This is in line with global best practice,” it stated.
According to the NUPRC, its intervention rides on the back of its position as the regulator statutorily entrusted with the technical and commercial regulation of the upstream sector in Nigeria.
The commission noted that the Senate, in line with section 7(ee) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, resolved that the NUPRC should assume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil export terminals which was approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also assured Industry players of the NUPRC’s certainty and commitment to discharging its responsibilities towards enhancing ease of doing business, facilitating investments, stability and predictability in the Nigerian upstream petroleum industry.