The Nigerian Offshore Oil Risk Governance Regime: Does the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 Address the Existing Gaps?

Ngozi Chinwa Ole, Etti Best Herbert


The occurrence of several offshore petroleum accidents in Nigeria supports the conclusion by some authors that the Petroleum Act (PA) 1969 regime is fraught with lapses. Environmental protagonists have applauded the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 as the way forward in the regulation of offshore risk. This paper uses the non-doctrinal methodology to investigate the extent to which the PIA 2021 has progressed beyond the PA 1969 in effectively regulating offshore risk in Nigeria’s petroleum sector. Such analyses are predicated on the general principles of effective risk governance regime evidenced in international best practices. This study finds that the PIA 2021 has not successfully filled the existing gaps identified in the PA 1969 regime. It was argued that while the PIA provides for the establishment of a separate regulator, it retains the defects of the 1969 Act, including conflict of interest replete in the regulator being the regulated and the dual role of the regulator in maximizing revenue and risk governance. Another defect is the retention of a prescriptive method of regulation, which was argued to be ineffective in regulating an ever-evolving risk environment. It is expected that such analyses will prove useful in guiding future reforms in the Nigerian petroleum sector, as well as other jurisdictions, given that risk regulation is an area of transnational law. The authors recommend the adoption of goal-setting risk governance regulation, which allows for flexibility, leaving safety in the hands of those with better expertise to guarantee it, i.e. the operator.


risk governance; Petroleum Industry Act 2021; conflict of interest; prescriptive method of regulation; goal-setting risk governance regulation

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Date of publication: 2022-09-28 19:31:21
Date of submission: 2022-03-05 13:56:57


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