11 March 2013, Abuja – Senate President, David Mark, has said the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, before the National Assembly is neither aimed at discouraging the multinational oil and gas prospecting corporations nor against any section of the country, but geared towards promoting international best practices in the industry.
Mark, while making the clarification in Abuja, weekend, insisted that the PIB was designed to correct some grey areas in the operations of the oil industry in a manner that would bring peace and yield positive dividends to all stakeholders in the country among which included the operators, the government, the host communities and the entire citizens of Nigeria.
He spoke at an interactive session with the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ronhaar Berend Jan. He said there was nothing to hide or fear about the PIB, just as he
assured that dialogue towards a better operation of the oil sector was open and not foreclosed.
He told his guest that Nigeria was also worried about the conspiracy or connivance by illegal oil bunkering and some foreign corporations to continue to steal the nation’s crude oil saying, “you should help us stop oil thieves because if there is no market for them abroad, they will not continue to steal.”
“Their market is outside Nigeria. Help us discourage them. If there is no market, there will be no bunkering. The international community helped to stop stealing of Gold in Liberia, they can help us stop oil thieves by refusing to patronize them,” he said.
Senator Mark also requested the oil prospecting companies to respect the local and international laws on the operation of the industry pointing out that “a situation where some oil companies flagrantly refuse to clean up oil spill or pay compensation to victims amounts to abuse.”
Earlier, the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria expressed grave concern about the ceaseless activities of oil thieves, regretting that Nigeria was losing huge revenue on account of oil theft.
Mr Berend Jan noted that the unfavorable security situation in the country was discouraging prospective investors while existing ones were contemplating quitting the shores of Nigeria.
He urged the Federal Government to have the political will to address the situation even as he promised Netherlands’ readiness to help Nigeria out of the quagmire.
On the PIB, the envoy pleaded with the Nigerian government to tread with caution so that the law would not inadvertently discourage multinational oil prospecting corporations from investing.