LEGAL AND SECRETATRIAT UNIT
The Nigeria- Sao Tome & Principe Joint Development Zone (JDZ) is located within the offshore Gulf of Guinea. It is approximately 34,000 square kilometres in size with potentially huge petroleum and other marine resources.
The JDZ was established in line with Article 74(3) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which encourages countries with disputing maritime boundary claims to go into provisional arrangement of a temporary nature for the purpose of exploiting resources for the immediate benefit of their citizens. Accordingly, Article 4 of the JDZ Treaty expressly that the State Parties have not renounced their territorial claims.
In November 1999, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe (DRSTP) commenced negotiations to establish the JDZ, which culminated in the signing of a treatyon 21st February 2001, which the National Legislatures of both countries have ratified and domesticated. In Nigeria the treaty is citied as Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No. 14, Vol. 92 of 7th March, 2005 or Cap127, Vol.14 LFN 2004.
The JDA, under the overall supervision of Joint Ministerial council (JMC) is responsible for all matters, from the award of interests to monitoring and inspection of petroleum operations.
Legal & Regulatory Regimes
The organic law applicable to all petroleum operations in the JDZ is the JDZ Treaty. Applicable Regulations have also been pursuant to the Treaty. Applicable Regulations have also been pursuant to the Treaty. They include: The Petroleum Regulations 2003 (amended in 2015), the Environmental Guidelines 2005 (amended and changed to Environmental Regulations in 2015); Non-petroleum Activity and Tax Regulations 2012; and JDZ Local Content Policy.
Hydrocarbon Laws of the States Parties, including tax laws, do not apply in the JDZ. Accordingly, the JDZ is a ‘ one-stop’ which encompasses (in the case of Nigeria, for example, DPR, NAPIMS,NCMDB, FIRS, etc, and similar organisations in DRSTP, such as National Petroleum Agency). The JDA works in collaboration with other relevant State Party authorities like Customs & Excise, Immigration, Defence, etc, when required, in carrying out its mandate.
The Legal & Secretariat unit is located in the Office of the Chairman, The unit reports directly to the board on all matters relating to the JDA.
The Objectives of the Legal & Secretariat Unit are as follows:
- Providing timely advice in response to several requests /instructions from the Chairman and from all other Departments for example on request in respect of the following:
- Ensuring the Authority’s integrity and reputation safeguarded
- Over sees all Internal agreements and external matters such as Litigation, Company search in the Corporate Affairs Commission.
- Drafting legal agreements for the Authority as requested such as Contract Agreements, Car Loans, Power of Attorney…
- Litigation management by managing all on going JDA lawsuits, providing status update and advice to the Board on the law suits.
- Bringing approaching PSC and other contract timelines to the attention of the JDA
- Together with other Departments, conduct negotiation with contractors for the JDA Blocks (from the Licence Biding, to the PSC negotiation, and all other affairs inherent to works to be performed in the Blocks);
- Ensure a functional library for the use of the JDA
- Administering the Oath of Secrecy
- Present at all JDAs meetings with other departments
- Ensuring the JDA is up to date on all old and new laws in the country
- Legal and Secretariat Officers prepare JMC and Board meetings;
- Further to preparation of JMC and Board meetings, it is the repository of all the decisions taken by the Council and Board and is also responsible for the dissemination of these decisions and other policies arising from the JDA to the departments and units for functionality and organizational effectiveness;
- Provide translation as needed by the Authority
- All letter are written and correspondence are also handled by the Secretariat unit
- The unit supports the Authority by liaising and interacting with all other departments and units ensuring that their daily activities are achieved swiftly and timely.