Lack of oil and gas regulation a concern


THE petroleum and energy industry needs an authority to look after the interests of industry players as the department lacks the capacity to deal with the growing industry.
Acting secretary Kepsey Puiya told The National that the department was not in a position to cater for the growing petroleum and energy industry at present.
Former Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban told The National earlier this year that the department lacked personnel for the purpose of licence oversight.
“We are not monitoring enough on the drilling programmes that have already been agreed to in those licences and conditions,” he said.
“We need to also look at how we can promote the petroleum advisory board in managing applications by current licence operators in the event of seeking variations or to file applications or also attending to new applications.
That has to be really looked at in terms of strengthening the process.
“The department hasn’t really operated efficiently also because of allocation issue. It is important that the new Government set a policy objective for the department.”
Last month, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the business community that a petroleum resource authority would be set up and employ skilled people with lucrative packages.
“The priority of the new minister (Petroleum and Energy Minister Fabian Pok) is to develop the authority similar to the MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) structure, to make it easier for businesses to engage with the government. The authority will be private sector-focused rather than a regulator. We need to have a good structure, pay employees well so we retain them.”

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