10 May 2013, Houston, Texas – A ground swell of support for the proposed Nigerian Oil Industry reform legislation designed to position the industry on the path of growth and sustainable development appeared on the horizon at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference, OTC in Houston, Texas yesterday as key stakeholders harped on the importance of the Bill.
The event was the Petroleum Exploration Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, OTC seminar which has come to become an integral part of Nigeria’s participation in the annual global oil and gas conference.
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu teed-off the session with a presentation titled: Post PIB Challenges, Prospect and Opportunities- to herald what turned out a well rounded discussion.
Describing the PIB as an essential tool for the sustainable development of the industry in Nigeria, Engr. Yakubu emphasized that the proposed law presents multi-dimensional approach to the nation’s Oil and Gas resource management that will ensure greater active contribution by players and stakeholders under prudent government structure of the industry.
“It also stipulates guidelines for operations in the upstream and downstream sectors which can be viewed in terms of the following thematic areas: policy, legal and regulatory dimensions, economic dimensions including participation and ownership, knowledge based human and institutional capabilities, environmental stewardship as well as governance structure for sustainable resource development,” the GMD said.
Commenting on the introduction of the Petroleum Host Community Fund, Yakubu informed that the proposed Fund incorporates lessons learnt from the Niger Delta on all new frontiers.
“The Fund is a mechanism to formally recognize host communities as important stakeholders by assigning oil and gas infrastructure security to the Host Communities and minimizing environmental degradation due to vandalism and crude oil theft,” he said.
Mr. Yakubu stated that the Fund also incorporates penalties to host communities in the event of vandalism in their localities. “The proposed legislation includes modalities for using regulations to increase flexibility in managing host community issues,” he said.
In his contribution, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream reiterated the readiness of the Senate to work with the executive in ensuring the smooth passage of the bill.
“I cannot commit to any particular date but I know that this PIB must be passed.” he said.
The Senator thanked the executive for ensuring that, this time around there was no issue of duplication or circulation of different versions of the draft bill.
House Minority Whip and Chairman House Committee on PIB, Honourable Samson Osagie also restated the commitment of the National Assembly in ensuring the passage of the Bill.
“The position of the National Assembly on the Petroleum Industry Bill is that we are passionate about passing this bill into law because it consolidates about 16 legislation in the sector and for the first time the Nigerian Government is coming out to say that this industry needs to be re-organised and reformed so that the eventual benefit will get to the government and people of Nigeria,” he said.
Hon. Osagie stated that as a body the National Assembly is determined to strike the delicate balance that will not comprise the interest of the nation or chase away potential investors. He however debunked claims by some International Oil Companies that the proposed fiscal regime in the PIB is one of the toughest in the global oil and gas industry.
“I don’t think that in all its entirety the fiscal regime as contemplated by the PIB remain the harshest in the industry worldwide but I believe that there are some sections that we may need to look out especially in the area of gas exploration. We may need to work had to ensure that we attract the right investment,” he said.
Earlier, Mark Ward, Managing Director of ExxonMobil, speaking on behalf of the IOCs expressed the readiness of the industry operators to work with relevant stakeholders and the National Assembly to ensure the passage of a balanced oil reform law.