Nigeria set to take a leap forward on Petroleum Industry Bill

bola ora 14 2Timpire Slyva, Nigeria’s junior oil minister, has expressed his optimism that the much-anticipated Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed by both houses of parliament in 2020, attracting more investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector

Speaking at the third Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) in Abuja (from 9-12 February), Slyva anchored the confidence on the cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive. The All People Congress Party, the ruling party to which Slyva belongs, holds a sizeable majority in both houses of the parliament – the Senate and the House of Representative.

According to Slyva, the passage of the bill will attract the necessary investment into Nigeria’s oil sector.

He said, “Today Nigerians all agree that there is a need for us to pass the PIB. For so long, we have not been able to attract a lot of investment in the oil sector. By the year 2002, our oil reserves stood at around 22 billion barrels, and we were able to grow that reserve to 37 billion barrels by 2007.”

“From 2007 to now, we have only been able to grow our reserves from 37 billion barrels to 37.5 billion barrels. Why? Not much investment is coming into Nigeria.”

The minister added, “We have retrogressed because some time ago, this country was producing up to 2.6 million barrels a day. I remember a long time ago, we actually targeted that we would be producing three million barrels and by now we should have been producing up to four million barrels a day.”

“The existing laws are obsolete and require modernisation based on current realities,” he commented.

President of the Senate Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan was of the same frame of mind as Slyva. In a meeting with the representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in February 2020, he said that there was confident that the bill, when presented by the Executive, would pass as soon as possible. There were constant and collaborative efforts between the executive and legislature to ensure the passage of the bill.

Industry too hopeful on the passage of the bill

Within the industry, there is a consensus that the PIB will finally be passed this time. The executives in the oil industry who spoke at the Summit all expressed that the passage of the bill is around the corner.

Osagie Okubor, managing director of Shell Petroleum and county chair of Shell companies in Nigeria, expressed his confidence in the passage of the bill. “Having been close to three or four past regimes on PIB, I am probably most confident and it is pretty open that this time around there is a better chance of it being passed.”

Jeff Ewing, managing director of Chevron Nigeria Limited, said that he sees 2020 as the year that Nigeria takes that leap forward on the PIB.

Paul McGrath, chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil, noted that probably more than any time in the past the industry has some of the most mature and productive discussions with the major players just to ensure that both parties work in collaborative manners that the PIB happens.

The PIB, first in a series of anticipated laws designed to regulate and reform the Nigerian oil and gas industry, aims to create transparency, increase government revenue and attract the necessary investment.

The governance version of the bill was passed by both houses in the parliament in January 2018. However, it was not assented to leaving the onus on the President Muhammadu Buhari, who is now reelected for his second and last term of four years.

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