22 June 2015, Abuja — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has alleged that the allocation of oil blocs in the country lacked transparency and has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to review the process.
The association has also told the president to declare a state of emergency in the oil sector to have permanent solution to the myriads of problems bedevilling the sector.
President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis Johnson, who made the allegation while delivering an address at the 4th Triennial Delegate Conference of Total E & P Branch of PENGASSAN in Abuja, weekend, alleged that lack of transparency in the allocation and transfer of oil blocks had remained one of the key factors affecting the oil and gas industry in the country.
Johnson said what the sector required was not cosmetic but rather a holistic approach which he said was the reason why it had become necessary to declare a state of emergency on the sector bearing in mind that it is the main stay of the country,s economy.
According to him: “The association is using this forum to restate its call on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the oil and gas industry in view of the highlighted challenges bedeviling the industry.
“When you are talking about allocation of oil blocks, under normal circumstances the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, in conjunction with the minister will do land tripping or something that is transparent, it must be opened. But what is on ground now at present does not represent that.
“That is why we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue; and we said that for the oil and gas sector to grow as expected by all Nigerians, the government must declare a state of emergency.
“Look at the issue of oil subsidy, there are many challenges and anything the government plans to do apart from holding that forum, where we will all sit down and discuss the issues will just be cosmetics; because this industry is the main stay of the economy of this country. So, we need to sit down, and if necessary give it publicity just like it was done during the Oputa panel.”
He also enumerated other challenges confronting the industry to include crude oil theft, pipeline vandalisation, irregular Joint Venture Funding and Non payment of JV Cash Calls, state of the refineries and fuel subsidy claims.
Others, according to him were the poor condition of access roads to operational locations (refineries, depots, among others), non- passage of Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and divestment by IOCs.