The ministry of petroleum resources says that it does not have the details of the oil companies involved in deep offshore operations.
The ministry made this known in response to a freedom of information request by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
The non-governmental organisation requested details of the international oil companies involved in deep offshore operations, the quantity of oil involved and their level of compliance with royalties remittances.
“Regarding your request for relevant details of the International Oil Companies Deep Offshore Operations, quantity of oil involved and amount owed, the information is not available in the Ministry,” a letter from the ministry dated August 28 and signed by Martina Suleiman, assistant director legal to the minister of state for petroleum resources read.
“You are, therefore, advised to forward your request to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for necessary action.”
A summary published on the ministry’s website shows that the ministry is saddled with supervisory powers to ensure that operators and stakeholders comply with the law.
“The creation of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was necessitated by the need to develop and implement sound policies that will serve as a backbone for the rapid development of the then-burgeoning oil and gas sector,” the summary read.
“The Ministry is saddled with the responsibility for the articulation, implementation and regulation of policies in the Oil and Gas Sector.
“It also exercises supervisory role over the operators and stakeholders, to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in the Oil and Gas.”
The Nigerian Deep Offshore and Inland Basin production sharing contract act (1993) is the legislative framework guiding deep offshore oil production, covering acreages deeper than 200 metres.
According to the act, companies are not expected to pay royalties for explorations above 1,000 metres water depth.
Before 1993, oil exploration and production were mostly on land, swamp and shallow offshore thus, there was a need to encourage investors.
On HEDA’s request for a review of the act, the ministry said that “that the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB), which is currently before the National Assembly, when passed into law, would address the Deep Offshore and Frontiers Basin Operations in Nigeria”.
At present, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been split into four at the national assembly.
The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), one of the four parts of the PIB which has been passed by the national assembly, is back at the legislative chambers after President Muhammadu Buhari refused to sign it.