NUPRC Clarifies Position On Alleged Illegal Butane Lifting

Contrary to reports of the alleged illegal lifting of Butane at the Bonny River Offshore Terminal (BRT) by ExxonMobil, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said, the transaction was legal.

The Commission made the clarification in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

NUPRC noted that ExxonMobil formally applied to it for approval of its operations as an integrated operation, in line with Sections 8(d) and 318 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

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The Upstream Petroleum Regulator said, following careful evaluation of the request, it deemed it fit and granted approval accordingly.

The Commission further clarified that Exxonmobil applied and obtained necessary clearance from it for the lifting of 12,600 metric tonnes of Butane aboard a vessel named Barumk Gas on May 26, 2023.

It said, “Barumk Gas berthed at the loading jetty at BRT on June 7, 2023. Loading operation commenced and ended on June 8, 2023; after which an official of NUPRC on site (at the BRT) issued a Certificate of Quantity and Quality (CoQ), as statutorily required for the fulfillment of requirements of accurate hydrocarbon accounting, reporting, and ability of the vessel to sail to its delivery destination. This is in line with global best practice”.

The NUPRC said, “The said operation was legitimate and in line with the statutory mandate of the Commission as the technical and commercial regulator of the upstream sector in Nigeria as stipulated by law”.

It therefore, said it was not aware of any illegality in the transaction and none was committed by either ExxonMobil Nigeria and its affiliates or the NUPRC as an agency of Government.

The Commission recalls that the 9th Senate set up an ad hoc committee to investigate oil lifting, theft, and the impact on petroleum production and revenues on the heels of the growing spate of crude oil theft in the upstream petroleum sector.

It said, following the conclusion of its investigation and presentation of its findings on the floor of the Senate on November 7, 2022, the Committee of the House passed far-reaching resolutions amongst which was the need for streamlining operations of MDAs at the crude oil export terminals in Nigeria.

It said, the Senate, in line with section 7(ee) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, resolved that the NUPRC should assume full regulatory oversight of all existing crude oil export terminals.

It said the resolution was sent to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, NUPRC, NMDPRA, and all relevant stakeholders in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

It noted that the President sought the opinion of the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who after a review concurred with the Senate resolution and reaffirmed that the said resolution is in line with the letter and spirit of the PIA, 2021 which seeks to promote ease of doing business and investments and enhance transparency of hydrocarbon accounting.

“Subsequently, the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, approved the Senate resolution and explicitly directed immediate compliance with the resolution, insisting that NUPRC is the sole and only regulatory entity to regulate and monitor activities of all existing crude oil export terminals in Nigeria, in line with the relevant section of the PIA, 2021. The directive was sent to all relevant MDAs and stakeholders for compliance.

“Arising from the above, the NUPRC also notified industry operators and relevant stakeholders of the Presidential directive and its readiness to immediately assume full regulatory oversight”, NUPRC clarified.

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