PIB to unbundle NNPC into three agencies

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Three agencies are to be created from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2020 has proposed.

The Bill listed the specific functions of the proposed agencies that would take over from unbundled NNPC after the passage of the proposal.

It named the three agencies as the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC); the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

According to the Bill, the NURC shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations governing the upstream petroleum operations.

The commission will be saddled with a mandate of ensuring that such operations are carried out in a manner to minimise waste and achieve optimal government revenues, promote healthy, safe, efficient and effective conduct of upstream petroleum operations in an environmentally acceptable and sustainable manner.

The agency would further ensure efficient, safe, effective and sustainable infrastructural development of the upstream petroleum operations.

“It would also determine, administer and ensure the implementation and maintenance of technical standards, codes, practices and specifications applicable to upstream petroleum operations pursuant to good international petroleum industry practices among others,” a copy of the Bill sighted by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday stated.

The NMDPRA, according to the Bill, “shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry”, stating that the functions of the NMDPRA would be limited to midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry and ensure efficient, safe, effective and sustainable infrastructural development of midstream and downstream petroleum operations.

The NMDPRA will be expected to promote a competitive market for midstream and downstream petroleum operations, including the supply and distribution of natural gas and petroleum products in midstream and downstream petroleum operations.

Besides, it would also ensure the security of natural gas supply for the domestic gas market and implement government’s policies for midstream and downstream petroleum operations as directed by the minister and in accordance with this Act.

The agency is also expected to advise the government agencies and other stakeholders on commercial matters relating to tariff and pricing frameworks, in addition to developing open access rules applicable to petroleum liquids and natural gas transportation pipelines, terminal facilities and bulk storage facilities.

The bill states that the NNPCL must be incorporated six months after the commencement of the Act by the Minister of Petroleum Resources under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), as a limited liability company.

After its incorporation, the Petroleum Resources minister will consult with the Finance Minister to determine the number and nominal value of the shares to be allotted.

The shares shall form the initial paid-up capital of NNPC Limited and the Federal Government shall subscribe and pay cash for the shares.

The bill states that ownership of all shares in NNPC Limited shall be vested in the Federal Government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated on behalf of the government.

It states that shares held by the Federal Government in the NNPC Limited are not transferable, by way of sale, assignment, mortgage or pledge, unless approved by the government.

It further provides that the sale or transfer of shares of NNPCL shall be at a fair market value and subject to an open, transparent and competitive bidding process.

According to the proposed law, “the NNPC Limited and any of its subsidiaries shall conduct their affairs on a commercial basis without recourse to government funds and their memorandum and articles of association shall state the restrictions.

“The Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited, or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the Minister shall cause such assets, interests and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited.

“Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited, or its subsidiary under subsection (1) of this section, shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the Federal Government.

“NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its assets, interests and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited, or its subsidiaries under subsection (1) of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the Government.”

The bill further indicated that the cost of winding down the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC shall be borne by the Federal Government.

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