Following Section 71 (1)–(10) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission (NUPRC) said on Wednesday that it had given TGS-PetroData Offshore Services Limited (TGS-PD) a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL). According to the report, this PEL is the first such under the PIA ACT 2021. It is based on a license agreement between the commission and TGS-PD for a Geophysical Survey Project to collect 3D seismic and gravity data across roughly 56,000 square kilometres. The NUPRC chief executive, Gbenga Komolafe, said this represents a significant step forward in the country’s efforts to execute the PIA and encourage investment in the oil and gas sector.
Without data, the NUPRC said that reserves could not be auctioned off for development or income generation. The data obtained through the PEL are not considered proprietary; rather, they are speculative or multi-client survey data that were obtained through a collaboration with the NUPRC. The license, therefore, enables TGS-PetroData Offshore to conduct non-exclusive Petroleum Exploration Operations on a multi-client basis inside the licensed area. Additionally, the license enables exploration firms to use the gathered 3D seismic and gravity data.
By the middle of 2024, the data will be ready for use.
Because of the specialised nature of the Geophysical Survey Vessel to be utilised for collecting 3D seismic and gravity data, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) gave TGS-PD permission to deploy the facility. Starting on July 17, 2023, the commission began collecting seismic and gravity data. By the middle of 2024, the data will be processed and ready for use. It was emphasised that the Geophysical Survey Project’s scope includes the collection of approximately 11,900 square kilometres of fresh 3D seismic and gravity data in water depths ranging from 30 meters to 4,000 meters offshore Niger Delta during Phase 1.
The NUPRC asserted that the collection of the data will boost the accuracy with which reservoirs and structures can be correlated. It was also mentioned that the scope has a record length of 14 seconds, making it the very first of such to be used in Nigeria. This record length would assist with imaging deeper reservoirs, which have not been done previously offshore in the Niger Delta. TGS will use cutting-edge proprietary technologies to process the seismic and gravity data received. Exploration firms will be offered licenses to use the data collected.
Revenue will be generated for the commission and government.
An advantage that will accrue to Nigeria as a result of the new collection of data cited by the commission was the easy access to new regional 3D seismic along with gravity data in deep waters spanning from 30m to 4000m offshore Niger Delta. When a licensee (TGS-PD) obtains raw and interpreted data in the course of petroleum exploration, the commission retains sole right and title to it. For this reason, the Nigerian government is the rightful holder of the 3D seismic and gravity data.
TGS-PD will award interested exploration businesses a data usage license in accordance with section 71(7) of the PIA, from which the commission and the federal government will receive revenue. It was emphasised that the new data that is currently being gathered would provide an additional chance for comprehending the regional petroleum system of the ultra-deep waters of Nigeria and would reveal the hydrocarbon prospectively of Nigeria frontier basins, which are located in the ultra-deep offshore.
More investment and job opportunities are guaranteed.
Lastly, NUPRC added that the data, if gathered, would be valuable in future deep water licensing rounds. This will encourage Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into oil and gas exploration in Nigeria. It will also create potential for boosting oil and gas reserves and production. Similarly, according to a statement made by the organisation led by Komolafe, it would continue to generate chances for the creation of Nigerian content as well as employment opportunities for Nigerian professionals.