The Nigerian government has scrapped the powerful Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) under its planned reform of the oil sector, according to local media reports.
They are to be replaced with the Petroleum Technical Bureau (PTB) and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (DPRA) respectively, if the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently with the National Assembly, is passed into law.
While the House of Representatives (the lower chamber of the national assembly) Thursday returned the PIB to President Goodluck Jonathan, claiming that it had no time to consider the bill because of its impending vacation, the Senate (the upper chamber) had promised not to delay the bill’s passage.
Under the bill, the government is offering 30 per cent equity to Nigerians in the unbundled Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Another major provision of the bill sent to the lawmakers on Wednesday is the government’s decision to ensure total deregulation of the downstream sector.
According to the bill, the new agencies that will emerge from the NNPC, three months after the bill is signed into law, are the National Oil Company, the National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation, and the National Gas Company.
Nigerians and other investors will have the opportunity to own 30 per cent shares in the National Oil Company and 40 per cent in National Oil Gas Company.
Until the setting up of the PPPRA, the DPR was in charge of all regulatory, monitoring, operational and commercial frameworks that governed operations in both the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors.
Its functions include supervising all petroleum industry operations, issuing of licences, permits and leases as well enforcing safety and environmental regulations.
The PPPRA fixes the price of petroleum products.