05 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezeani Allison-Madueke, said in Abuja on Tuesday that the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will encourage host communities to protect oil and gas infrastructure in their area.
Speaking at the 18th Nigeria Economic Summit during a panel discussion on the “PIB and the Future of Nigeria’s Oil Industry, the minister said: “We have created a mechanism to formally recognise host communities as important stakeholders by assigning oil and gas infrastructure security to the communities.’’
This, she said, would minimise environmental degradation due to vandalism and crude oil theft.
“As a Freedom to Operate tool, it incorporates penalties to host communities in the event of vandalism in their localities.
“The legislation also includes modalities for using regulation to increase the flexibility in the management of host communities issues,” she said.
The minister also said that the PIB when passed into law would increase participation of new players in oil and gas industry through the proposed new acreage management system.
“This involves the release of acreage that have been held without activity due to one constrain or another.’’
The minister ruled out opinions being expressed in some quarters that the country’s fiscal regime was responsible for the low exploration activities within the sector.
“We believe that it is more due to the lack of open acreage and limited funding in the joint ventures that has actually limited new exploration activities,’’ she said.