By Obas Esiedesa – Abuja
The Federal Government has taken the first major step to relocate the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, from Lagos to Abuja, with laying of the foundation for its head office building in the nation’s capital.
The bulk of Nigeria’s petroleum industry’s operation, which DPR regulates, takes place in the southern part of the country, with Lagos hosting the head offices of industry players.
The move is also coming at a time the National Assembly commenced work on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, that is expected to scrap the DPR and replace it with the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.
Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, pointed at the need for holistic coordination of the industry as justification for the move.
President Muhammadu Buhari had just last week commissioned the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) at DPR office in Lagos.
Sylva said with the new office, the government is looking forward to creating enabling environment to support oil and gas business across value chain for operators, service providers, investors, relevant government agencies, international collaborators, and other stakeholders.
According to him, the government is looking for a new DPR “for the good of our stakeholders and the benefit of the Nigeria Oil and Gas industry.”
He assured Nigerians that the PIB would become law in a few months time.
Speaking at the event, Director of DPR, Sarki Auwalu said the regulator needs to be closer to policymakers.
“That is the best for the sector that needs to really work closely with other stakeholders when they are in Abuja.
“We already have a mature basin in the Niger Delta, now we are looking at other basins which are better managed from this centre position.
“The basic benefit is to come closer to the policy-making decision. The minister is here, the President is here and the parliament is here. So it is better that the highest revenue-generating agency should be here”, he explained.
Auwalu noted that DPR is looking to provide the necessary support for the administration drive to explore oil across the country, explaining that the current activities across the nation’s inland basin would receive a boost with the relocation of the department to the seat of power.