The Group Executive Director (E&P) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Abiye Membere on Monday described the delay in passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as responsible for the great loss of revenue to the country.
Membere disclosed this in an interview with Energy editors in Abonnema, Rivers State that the PIB team was fully aware of the implications of the bill and would do everything possible to pass the bill into law this year.
Abiye disclosed that Nigeria has been struggling to produce between 2.0 and 2.1mbpd since the beginning of the year even though there is the capacity to produce 2.5mbpd.
“Which is better between releasing more funds to the oil communities or to continue to lose over 400,000bpd to activities thieves that are beyond the control theft?,” he queried.
He suggested that it would be better for the country to use certain proportion of the barrels of crude oil being lost as fund to support the Petroleum Host Community.
He warned that it would make sense and enable Nigeria to earn more revenue if we can remove sentiment and politics.
“‘It will be better to deal with challenges of host communities differently because the team did not ring the issue of host community fund from the moon.
“The fund is one of the promises made by late President Umaru Yar’Adua in far away South Africa where the commitment was made.
According to him, Minerals Act also supported the roles of host community before a firm is allowed to do business. He noted: “So, it is not far away from what the PIB has proposed.
“This was also supported by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the bottom line is the issue of whether to continue to suffer low production versus the revenue proposed in the 2013 budget or we do something to ensure that in the medium to long term, Nigeria will continue to have stability in oil production.
Membere said that there is nowhere in the world where a bill put together will satisfy everybody. According to him, what the government is looking at as priority is for the nation’s interest to be at the forefront.
He said that:“If we are able to do that, the bill will not stay long before it will be passed. It is in the best of the people. It is in the best interest of the country so that Nigeria will be able to achieve the energy sustainability we are talking about for this country.
Membere added that: “If the International Oil Companies (IOCs) can go to Zimbabwe without infrastructure, it shows that they are in the country to maximise profit whereas the PIB is to optimise profit so that the oil sector will be a win-win deal for both the government and operators in the private sector.”
There are indications that Nigeria will continue to lose significant proportion of crude oil production to theft over the opposition of Petroleum Host Community Fund by leaders from the North and international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the nation’s upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had announced the continuous loss of over 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) through theft and vandalism of pipelines and production facilities.
The National Assembly had approved 2.48 million barrels per day (mbpd) with a price benchmark of $79 per barrel in the 2013 budget approval.
However, the average crude oil production figure of Nigeria for the first quarter of this year according to Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) posted on its website and obtained from secondary sources was 1.988 (mbpd) compared with 2.073mbpd for the first quarter of 2012 and 2.111mbpd for the first quarter of 2011 April, May and June 2013.
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.