22 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said new licenses for oil blocks will be issued when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed by the National Assembly.
Kachikwu, who stated this at the PIGB Symposium organised by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), described the timing of the symposium as apt, reiterating the country’s upstream oil sector aspirations to include growing crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and daily production to four million barrels, improving local content, maximising sector value and deriving as much revenue from gas as from oil.
He noted, however, that achieving these aspirations required reforms to overhaul the multiple laws governing oil and gas exploration and production to help the country meet its potentials, adding that transparency and clear policy direction is needed in the petroleum industry.
He noted that “Finally, it is a national priority to have certainty and clarity over the operations of the petroleum industry as it will foster more licensing rounds, enhance revenues and increased economic activities.
“New acreages will be awarded for exploration and production under new laws and terms, especially offshore which is likely to account for much of the growth in the nation’s reserves.”
According to the minister, who was represented by his senior technical adviser, Mr. Johnson Awoyomi, “For too long we have waited for this moment with bated breath and sheer excitement, knowing that the bill will disentangle us from the manacles of inefficiency, low investment drive, and opacity.
“After a critical study of the myriad of challenges on ground, we observed that crucial to the fixing of these problems lies in the question of the governance of the industry, and effort from the legal wing which could play a critical role in presenting a robust, effective governance and institutional framework for the management and regulation of petroleum resources in Nigeria.”
He said the PIGB was an attempt to establish an effective institutional framework and structures for a commercially-driven petroleum industry, while also promoting transparency in the administration of the country’s petroleum resources.
Mr. Kachikwu said passing the PIGB into law was a national priority, as it would enable certainty and clarity over petroleum industry operations and foster more oil licensing rounds, enhance revenues and increased economic activities.
Also speaking at the event, NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio, said the assent to the bill will not necessarily bring an end to the sector’s challenges.
He said, “We will be deluded to think the job is done. It is not. Succumbing to such a temptation will be wrong-headed and misdirected.
“Here we are not just talking about the need to finally pass the PIGB and transmit it to the president for assent. And not even about ensuring that the other three bills are passed and signed.
“It is more about ensuring effective implementation of the resultant laws in ways that will reposition and transform our oil and gas sector to become a real blessing, and not this needless curse, for our people.”
Mr. Adio underlined the need to govern and run the industry in a more transparent, accountable, equitable, efficient and optimal manner in the country’s collective interest.
He lamented the loss of over $200 billion in the last eight years as the cost of business uncertainty, lack of clarity and inadequate transparency mechanisms in the petroleum industry.
With recent assurances by the National Assembly that the harmonised version of the PIGB would soon be sent to the president for assent, Mr. Adio said the symposium was organised to enable all interest groups to discuss the next steps, to ensure the objectives of the proposed law were realised.