1 September, 2011, Lagos – Former chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream sector), Lee Maeba, says the downstream sector of Nigeria’s petroleum industry cannot be deregulated until the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed into law.
He also maintained that without deregulation, the nation’s economy would remain comatose as the environment would be unattractive to oil and gas investors.
Maeba, who spoke on the implications of not passing the PIB into law at an energy conference in Lagos, stated that the bill will hasten the deregulation of the oil business in the country, so that private sector players could come in.
“Deregulation will help foreign investors to come in to do business in the country, build refineries, improve the industry and the nation,” he said.
He claimed that the PIB, if passed, would protect and help the host communities to have good working relationship with the oil companies doing business in their land and that the non-passage of the bill held negative implications for the Nigerian Content Act as the Act cannot be active without the bill being passed into law.
Maeba revealed that investments worth $38 billion flew into the Gulf of Guinea in 2010, with Nigeria not benefitting because of the uncertainty in the oil and gas industry arising from the non-passage of the PIB.