The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) says the upcoming ‘closed’ bid round for the sale of oil and gas blocks this year is legal and in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

The NUPCR further states that Nigeria’s national technical oil production potential currently stands at 2.26 million barrels per day (bpd) which is well above the 1.5 million bpd production quota allocated to the country by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive Officer of the NUPRC, gave the clarifications on Tuesday, in Lagos, while speaking at two separate sessions at the ongoing 8th Sub-Saharan African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC).

Komolafe spoke at the same conference where the Secretary General of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Umar Farouk announced that the country to serve as the headquarters of the upcoming African Energy Bank (AEB) would be made known before the next month.

The theme of this year’s SAIPEC was “The Next: Accelerating African Content.”

Komolafe had announced last month that the commission would be conducting another mini-bid Round for 12 offshore blocks.

He also said the earlier mini-bid round for the seven deep offshore blocks was nearing conclusion.

He maintained that further investment opportunities were also available in the licensing rounds, which would be conducted more frequently in line with the provisions of the PIA.

He said: “At this point, let me use this opportunity to announce that the commission will be concluding the Nigerian ongoing seven deep offshore bid round which we commenced earlier.

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“In addition to that, the commission will be conducting closed bid rounds in the course of the year. Let me take time to explain that the Petroleum Industry Act actually provided for both closed bid and open bid. Both are legal…because when we hear closed bid, it might be misinterpreted.

“So, closed bid is legal just as open bid is equally legal. Section 73 of the PIA makes this very clear. What is inherent in closed bid and open bid is that both will be conducted in a fair, transparent and very competitive manner. But the underlining thing is that both are legal by virtue of the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.”

He called on potential investors to take note of the bid round which the commission would be conducting in the course of the year in line with the provisions of the law.

According to him, that was part of the investment opportunities the commission would be showcasing at the event.

As part of the efforts to deepen Nigeria’s gas market and ensure decarbonisation of upstream operations, Komolafe mentioned that the commission recently awarded 49 flare sites to successful bidders for flare gas commercialisation through the Nigerian Flare Gas Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP).

Through the initiative, he said more gas would be available for domestic gas utilisation in the form of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), feedstock for power generation plants, fertilizer plants and petrochemicals as well as for exports.

According to Komolafe, “The oil reserves and gas reserves in Nigeria respectively represents 30 per cent and 34 per cent of the African oil and gas reserves.

“Although the actual national production currently averages 1.33 million barrels of oil per day and 256 thousand barrels of condensate per day, the national technical production potential currently stands at 2.26 million bpd, and the current OPEC quota is 1.5 million bpd.