From Uche Usim, Abuja

Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has said the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) are now technically dead in line with the dictates of the recently-signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that created new agencies to absorb them.

The minister made the disclosure on Monday while inaugurating the Chief Executives of the new agencies in Abuja

According to him, staff rationalisation and realignment were underway as the new agencies are to run as efficiently as possible to deliver on their mandate.

The new agencies are the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, which were created by the PIA to regulate the oil and gas industry.

Arising from that, the Chief Executives of the former agencies have now been relieved of their appointments since they were political appointees.

While their respective office buildings still bear their old names, the agencies will eventually wear their new names after undergoing rebranding in the near future.

Speaking at the event, the Minister described the inauguration as historic, as it marks the beginning of the successor agencies.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the CEOs a few weeks ago, and they went through a rigorous process of confirmation at the National Assembly.

‘After that, their appointment letters have been issued by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation and therefore, they have actually taken up the agencies. The agencies now have clear leadership and of course, today’s event marks that beginning for the new agencies.

‘I am really expecting a lot of growth and development in the oil industry. The oil industry has been stagnated for a long time because the process of passing PIA has been very arduous. For over 20 years, we’ve been in that process. So, a lot of companies, a lot of investors took a sit down and watched the approach today. The PIA has clarified the framework, the legal framework around the sector, and the agencies are in place. I don’t see anything now stopping investors from coming in. And we are very lucky to have very competent industry people with very proven experience. So, we believe that the guys can hit the ground running. Nigeria should brace up for exponential growth in the oil and gas sector,’ Sylva stated.

The new helmsmen pledged to begin urgent industry reforms needed to unlock the wealth of the sector which has been perennially detained by archaic laws that deterred offshore investors.

The appointment letters of the new CEOs came barely a week after the Senate approved their nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari, in his letter to the Senate, asked the upper legislative chamber to confirm Idaere Ogan as the Chairman, Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority;

Farouk Ahmed (Chief Executive); Abiodun Adeniji (Executive Director, Finance and Accounts); and Ogbugo Ukoha (Executive Director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure).

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For the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, those confirmed by the Senate are; Isa Modibo (Chairman); Gbenga Komolafe (Chief Executive); Hassan Gambo (Executive Commissioner, Finance and Accounts); and Rose Ndong (Executive Commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management).

Arising from that, the Director/CEO of DPR, Sarki Auwalu, will on Monday, hand over to the CEO of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, Mr Gbenga Komolafe.

Similarly, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of

PPPRA Mr Abdulkadir Saidu, and the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of PEF, Ahmed Bobboi, will hand over to the Chief Executive of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed.

With these new developments, the DPR, PPPRA and PEF will cease to exist as individual entities.

Until his new appointment as CEO of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk was a former Executive Secretary of the PPPRA.

The PIA provides that the Authority would regulate the midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the country.

Farouk will be supported by seven Executive Directors to handle the day-to-day administration of the Authority.

The Authority will take over the current functions of the DPR, with respect to the regulation of technical and commercial activities in the downstream and midstream petroleum operations.

Furthermore, the Authority will be saddled with the responsibilities of providing pricing and tariff frameworks for natural gas in midstream and downstream gas operations.

It will also provide pricing tariffs for petroleum products based on a fair market basis, thus handling the current responsibilities and functions of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.

For Komolafe, he would, as the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, serve for a period of five years.

The position is also renewable once for another five years according to the Act.

The Commission will take over the current functions of the DPR, with respect to the regulation of technical, operational, commercial and environmental activities associated with upstream petroleum operations.