Monday, 11 March 2013

Diezani: PIB Will Help Develop Nigeria’s Oil, Gas Reserves

3006 Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Petroleum Resources Minister.jpg - 3006 Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Petroleum Resources Minister.jpg
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has stated that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which passed through second reading last week, would ensure the development of Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves.

The long delay in the passage of the oil industry reform bill has resulted in rapid decline in new investments in the oil and gas industry.
Speaking at the Africa Energy Summit session during the Cambridge Energy Research Association (CERAWEEK 2013) in Houston, Texas, United States, the minister, who was represented by the Group Executive Director Exploration and Production, at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Abiye Membere, noted that the PIB would usher in new opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Aside from attracting new investments, the minister said the PIB would usher in new fiscal regime to address all issues of equity among stakeholders in the sector. According to her, the PIB will also put in place a new acreage allocation system that will be fair to both the big and small players.
Alison-Madueke said maintained, with the PIB, the country's revenue would be well-managed and transparently allocated for a balanced development of the country.

After two days of heated debate, the controversial PIB on Thursday scaled the second reading on the floor of the Senate. Consequently, the bill was committed to the committees on Upstream, Downstream, Gas and Judiciary and Legal Matters for further legislation. The committees will report back to the Senate in six weeks.

At the resumed hearing last Tuesday, the atmosphere had been charged as a result of stiff opposition to the bill from northern senators, who vehemently opposed the bill, on grounds that some of its provisions would favour the oil-producing region.
They rejected Sections 116 - 118 of the bill, which stipulate that oil companies must remit 10 per cent of their net profits to host communities.
They also faulted Section 9 of the bill that provides for the establishment of National Frontiers' Agency, otherwise known as Petroleum Technical Bureau, as a unit under the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, saying it should exist as an independent body. The agency will be saddled with the task of exploring and exploiting oil in all parts of the country.

The Northern senators also criticised the perceived unlimited powers given to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, which they said would be detrimental to reforms in the oil sector.

Parts of the powers of the minister as provided in the bill include the powers to re-assign licences to operators in the industry, grant waivers, grant and revoke leases unconditionally, order the Auditor General access to some documents, and is empowered to appoint the management of host community fund.

Some senators also criticised Section 119 of the bill, which gives the president the unilateral power to grant oil licences, saying it is against best practices.
Source: ThisDayLive

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