FG Grants First Petroleum Exploration Licence Under New PIA, Expects Revenue from Data Use

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission (NUPRC) yesterday announced that in compliance with the provisions of Section 71 (1) – (10) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), it had granted a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) to TGS-PetroData Offshore Services Limited (TGS-PD).
The PEL, it said, is the first under the PIA 2021 and is under the licence agreement which the commission and TGS-PD executed for a Geophysical Survey Project for the acquisition of about 56,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic and gravity data.

A statement signed by the Chief Executive of the NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, said the development was another milestone in the smooth implementation of the PIA for the attraction of investment in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
Without data, the NUPRC said reserves cannot be auctioned for development and revenue attraction.
“Data acquired under the PEL is not proprietary but speculative/multi-client survey data acquired in partnership with the NUPRC. The licence therefore authorises TGS-PetroData Offshore to carry out non-exclusive Petroleum Exploration Operations on a multi-client basis within the licensed area and permits the use of the acquired 3D seismic and gravity data by exploration companies.

“Due to the specialised nature of the Geophysical Survey Vessel to be used for the acquisition of the 3D seismic and gravity data, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) granted no objection to TGS-PD to deploy the facility.
“The acquisition of the 3D seismic and gravity data commenced on July 17, 2023, and the processed data will be available for use by mid-2024,” the commission said.

The scope of the Geophysical Survey Project, it stressed includes: Phase 1 acquisition of about 11,900 sq. km of new 3D seismic and gravity data in water depth ranging from 30m to 4000m offshore Niger Delta.
According to the NUPRC, acquiring seismic and gravity data at the same time will improve the correlation of identified structures and reservoirs.
It added that the scope also includes a record length of 14 seconds, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria and will help image deeper reservoirs that have not been done offshore Niger Delta before now.

“The acquired seismic and gravity data will be processed using the latest TGS proprietary technology. The acquired data will be licensed to exploration companies.
The commission listed one of the benefits that Nigeria will derive from the new 3D seismic and gravity data acquisition as: availability of new regional 3D seismic and gravity data in deep waters ranging from 30m to 4000m offshore Niger Delta.

“The commission has the sole right and title over the acquired raw and interpreted data to be obtained by the licensee (TGS-PD) under a petroleum exploration licence.  Therefore, the 3D seismic and gravity data belongs to the Nigerian Government.
“Based on section 71(7) of the PIA, the commission and federal government of  shall benefit from the revenue that will be generated from the data use licence that will be granted to interested exploration companies by TGS-PD.

“The new 3D seismic and gravity data being acquired will further provide an opportunity for understanding the regional petroleum system of the ultra-deep waters of Nigeria and unlock the hydrocarbon prospectivity of Nigeria’s frontier basins (Ultra-deep offshore),” it stressed.

According to the NUPRC, the 3D seismic and gravity data when acquired will be useful in future deep water licencing rounds which will attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into oil and gas exploration in Nigeria as well as create opportunities for increasing oil and gas reserves and production.
The Komolafe-led organisation stated that it will further create opportunities for Nigerian content development and employment of Nigerian professionals.

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