FG sets 9-month timeline for 2024 oil block licensing round

By Adewale Sanyaolu

To ensure that the country quickly reaps from the gains of its hydrocarbon resources, the Federal Government through its implementing agency, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has set a nine month timeline for the 2024 oil block licensing round.

The nine-month timeline is a clear departure from the endless timelines associated with past oil block licensing bid round taking as much as over two years in some instances.

The development leaves most investors disgruntled as financial and technical projections often leaves them overtaken by current economic realities.

Speaking at the pre-bid conference for 2024 licensing round hosted by NUPRC in Lagos last week, the Commission Chief Executive (CCE),NUPRC, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, said the guidelines for participation are structured to ensure fairness and strategic partnership, fostering not just economic returns but also technological exchange and capacity building.

He added that the 2024 block licensing round is not merely a transactional oppourtunity; but a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to advancing a resilient and sustainable industry.

‘‘As we stand at the threshold of history in our energy sector, let us collaborate to harness the oppourtunities that promise not only to meet the immediate needs of our growing economies but also to secure a sustainable future for the next generations for shared prosperity,” he said.

On the global scale, Komolafe said the licensing round will no doubt be beneficial to all stakeholders and will in the long run contribute to long-term global energy sufficiency.

He explained that the licensing round process was formulated in cognisance of global energy sustainability goals.

The NUPRC boss added that the implementation process will, in  addition to technical and commercial considerations, pay the requisite attention to strategies, processes and implementable plans consistent with net zero carbon emission targets, eliminating gas flares as well as overall environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.

He maintained that the oil and gas industry in Nigeria has embraced the reality of energy transition and is taking strategic position to leverage on the oppourtunities presented by the unfolding era.

‘‘It is worthy to recognise that recent events around the globe indicate that fossil fuels will continue to be a core part of the global energy mix well into the future, even beyond the set 2050 targets for achieving net-zero carbon emission,” he said.

He further assured investors and stakeholders, that the licensing round is indeed expected to be a huge success for Nigeria and is a big step towards growing the nation’s oil and gas reserves through aggressive exploration and development efforts, boosting production, expanding opportunities for gas utilisation and end to end development across the value chain.

Komolafe stressed that the licensing round will strengthen energy security and economy, providing occasion to engage the pool of competent companies in the oil and gas sector with multiplier effect in employment oppourtunities, enabling transfer of technology, value optimisation from petroleum assets and attracting investments.

‘‘The licencing round presents us with the oppourtunity to reinforce Nigeria’s commitment to transparency in line with the principles of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI),” he said.

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