DPR history, functions and other details
DPR history, functions and other details

DPR history, functions and other details: A Comprehensive Guide

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), formerly known as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), is the regulatory agency for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. It oversees all upstream operations related to the exploration and production of petroleum resources in Nigeria. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to DPR/NUPRC’s history, roles, functions, and other important details.


History of the Department of Petroleum

The DPR has its origins in the 1970s when it was known as the Hydrocarbon Section under the Ministry of Lagos Affairs. In 1970, it was carved out as a separate department called the DPR due to the expansion of its activities. In 1971, the Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) was established to handle direct commercial operations in the oil industry while DPR maintained regulatory supervision.

In 1975, DPR was upgraded to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and later renamed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. In 1977, DPR and NNOC were merged to form the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In 1985, the Ministry of Petroleum was re-established but DPR remained under NNPC until 1988 when NNPC was reorganized.

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The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021 led to the establishment of NUPRC, which replaced DPR as the new regulatory body for upstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.


Functions of the Department of Petroleum

The NUPRC/DPR primarily regulates all activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Some of its key functions include:

Regulation of Operations

It regulates activities at drilling sites, production facilities, flow stations, export terminals, and other areas of petroleum operations.

Record Keeping

It maintains databases and records of industry activities related to reserves, production, exports, licenses etc.

Policy Advice

NUPRC advises the government on policy formulation regarding the petroleum sector.

License Processing

It processes applications for licenses, leases, and permits required for petroleum operations.

Revenue Collection

It ensures timely payment of royalties, rents, and other revenues accruing to the government.

Health, Safety and Environment

It enforces compliance with local and international HSE standards and guidelines.

In addition, it provides technical guidance to oil companies, administers data on petroleum resources, and advises the government on authentic reserves and production figures.


Other Details: Permits and Licenses

There are different categories of permits issued by NUPRC/DPR for operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector:

Oil Exploration Licence (OEL)

Grants rights for exploration within a designated contract/leased area.

Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL)

Granted for reconnaissance to identify potential hydrocarbon prospects.

Oil Mining Lease (OML)

Granted to successful explorers to carry out commercial production of petroleum within a specified field.

Marginal Field Licence

Issued for small, less profitable hydrocarbon reserves unsuitable for major oil firms.

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Service Permits

Required by all service companies supporting upstream operations – General, Major, and Specialised categories.

Permit application and processing are now fully digitized through NUPRC/DPR’s online portal for efficiency and transparency. Strict guidelines are in place for permit issuance, renewal, amendments, and terminations.



NUPRC/DPR conducts recruitment regularly to fill vacant positions at its headquarters and zonal offices across Nigeria. The selection process usually involves:

  • Shortlisting of eligible candidates based on qualifications and experience.
  • Aptitude tests to assess verbal, quantitative, and reasoning skills.
  • Oral interviews to evaluate interpersonal skills and job fit.
  • Background and reference checks.
  • Medical examination & drug screening.
  • Mandatory 1-year NYSC (for graduates below 30 years).
  • Letter of job offer to successful candidates.

Employment opportunities exist for graduate engineers, accountants, geologists, inspectors, and other professionals. Pay scales and benefits are attractive compared to other government agencies in Nigeria.



What are NUPRC/DPR’s regional offices in Nigeria?

NUPRC/DPR has a presence across key oil/gas producing regions in Nigeria with offices in Port Harcourt, Warri, Yenagoa, Benin, Sokoto, Abuja, and Lagos.

What is NUPRC/DPR’s role in stabilizing the petroleum sector?

NUPRC/DPR supports efforts to boost local content, attract investment, and ensure reserves growth and production increases thereby stabilizing the Nigerian petroleum industry.

How can one apply for service permits from NUPRC/DPR?

All permit applications are submitted online via the NUPRC/DPR portal at www.dprnigeria.org.ng. Guidelines on eligibility and processes are provided on the portal.



In conclusion, the NUPRC is a key agency playing a critical regulatory and supervisory role in Nigeria’s important oil and gas industry. Through diligent performance of its various functions including policy advice, monitoring, safety enforcement, and revenue administration, the Commission strives to balance environmental protection with economic growth and development from petroleum resource exploitation. It also supports the federal government’s objectives of sector reforms, revenue optimization, and local capacity development through the efficient discharge of its responsibilities.


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