petroleum-industry-billThe Senate will not rush the passage of the Petroleum Bill (PIB) into law to avoid shortchanging Nigerians, the Chairman of its Committee on Gas Resources, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, has said.

She said efforts were being made to ensure the speedy passage of the Bill, adding that it was the desire of the committee to ensure that the legislation is all-encompassing, spelling the dos and don’ts in the oil and gas industry.

Senator Nwaogu said the bill was an important document that should be given priority because it would remove fears about the oil industry, especially the gas sector. She added that if passed into law, it would address bottlenecks in oil and gas operations in the country.

The Bill has passed the first and second readings and is at the domain of public hearing. She noted that it would be detrimental to the economy to rush the processes of passing the Bill into law, without allowing experts’ input. This is to ensure that, at the end of the day, the Bill would be seen as a democratically-assembled document comprising inputs from experts in oil and gas and other sectors, Senator Nwaogu said.

“That is why we are going to hold a public hearing, and for my Committee on Gas. We want to ensure that this document has a transparently identifiable dos-and-don’ts for gas exploration, production and processing and gas distribution.We don’t want a situation where we would say we have a petroleum industry law that does not take into account the peculiarities in gas exploration, processing and distribution,” she stated

“We want to ensure that the volume of gas we have translates into increase in revenue profile for the country, and ensure that the new document gives opportunity for investment in the gas sector, as well as ensure that there would be easy entry into gas business in the country and easy exit of gas business at the same time.

“We expect that this petroleum industry law as it affects gas, would help to create more wealth for Nigeria, more employment for Nigerians, and at the end of the day place Nigeria in the committee of nations as regards gas production and gas exploration,” adding that domestic gas development could be used to reduce the continuous abuse of our environment through deforestation and through gas flaring by putting a stop to the practice.

She said if there is a law that prohibits gas flaring and ensures that we create a conducive environment for investors to come into the gas infrastructure business, firms would come in from outside the country that would want to establish a network of gas pipelines.

She agreed that it is only when the government offers incentives, as well as taking some deliberate policies to attract investors into gas development, that people would come in to invest, adding that both the content companies would come and have a share of gas development projects in the country.

She also said the committee would ensure it X-rays the PIB to ensure that gas and its operations in the country are well-carried out and that the law would protect investors, punish offenders, and ensure that those caped-wealth by some oil companies for many years, were released into the basket of investible assets where Nigerians could find them attractive to go and bid for them.


Information from The Nation was used in this report.