An overview of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 and its impact on the Nigerian upstream sector

The new Petroleum Industry Act 2021 which was recently assented and signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on August 16th, 2021 to repeal the extant Petroleum Act 2004, has created an array of provisions and innovations that will affect the private, public sector and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry. This article aims at giving a brief overview of the salient provisions of the Act which embodies 5 Chapters, 319 Sections, and 8 Schedules.

The Petroleum Industry Act was enacted to provide for the legal, governance, the regulatory, and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the establishment, and development of host communities and other related matters in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry.

Furthermore, the Act establishes two new regulators, the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Midstream / Downstream Regulatory Authority. The Act provides that the Minister of Petroleum Resources will be responsible for awarding leases and granting approval on assignment of interest on the recommendation of the Commission.

It further establishes funds such as the frontier exploration fund (30% of NNPC Limited’s profit oil and gas), the Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund (0.5% of wholesale price of petroleum products and natural gas sold in Nigeria), the Decommissioning / Abandonment Fund and the Host Community Fund (3% of operating expenditure incurred in prior year). The enactment of the PIA should enable Nigeria to attract the desired investments to grow its oil and gas reserves and possibly achieve the seemingly elusive target of 40 billion barrels.

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