President Bola Tinubu has taken steps to address the ongoing conflicts between the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) by issuing a memo to establish clear boundaries for their responsibilities. The memo aims to provide clarity until the contentious sections of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) are amended by the National Assembly.
Earlier, former President Muhammadu Buhari intervened in the clashes by instructing the NUPRC to oversee all crude oil export terminals in the country, instructing the NMDPRA to cease regulatory activities at these terminals. However, further conflicts arose between the regulators, with the NMDPRA accusing ExxonMobil of unauthorized petroleum product lifting. ExxonMobil denied the allegations, stating that it operated in compliance with the law.
To ensure compliance and clarity, Tinubu’s memo, personally signed by him, included a diagram illustrating the limits of each agency’s authority. Tinubu acknowledged the ambiguity in the law that led to the conflicts and delineated the responsibilities of the NUPRC and NMDPRA. According to the memo, the NUPRC will exclusively regulate upstream petroleum operations and facilities, including extraction, crude export terminals, and the gate of natural gas processing plants. The NMDPRA will exclusively regulate petroleum operations and facilities from the exit of crude export terminals to the entry gate of natural gas processing plants.
Tinubu directed the agencies to comply with the directives, prevent duplication of regulatory responsibilities, and refrain from overlapping functions, particularly related to export terminal operations. He also emphasized that NUPRC would have sole jurisdiction over the technical and commercial regulation of integrated petroleum facilities for upstream operations, with clear guidelines established to determine the integration status of facilities. The memo further called for collaboration between NUPRC, NMDPRA, and relevant stakeholders to address the implications of the directives and potentially propose amendments to the PIA.
Tinubu requested the publication of the memo in the Federal Government Gazette, solidifying the directives and their implementation.