Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be seen as an opportunity to transform the industry by addressing lingering issues that have impeded development across the different sectors that make up the industry.
The Vice President said this at a virtual meeting on the PIB with stakeholders in the industry under the auspices of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) in Nigeria, and Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG).
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Osinbajo, who spoke on the benefits of harmonizing interests in the PIB, said stakeholders in the oil industry needed to find and agree on cheaper means of producing oil while also ensuring a more competitive environment that meets the needs and purposes of the Nigerian nation including the largest production volumes possible.
He said such agreement was necessary while maximizing opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
He said: “Businesses would like to invest and invest more in this environment.
“So, that is the point of convergence. We want more investments and obviously state governments like more investments, and you (private companies) would like to invest so that you can make more money.
“No question about that; what we should seek to do is to see to what extent we can come to that convergence.
“To sound the question of reconciling and maintaining our domestic gas obligation, and at the same time improving the gas environment in such a way that we are able to benefit maximally from it as a business and government.
“I like the concept that gas should be an enabler for quick development and I think that we must reach some kind of balance with this, especially with this question around domestic gas obligation.
“I would like OPTS and IPPG to look more carefully and see in what ways we can come to some agreements as to how it should be done.”
A presidential spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the new PIB, which was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in September last year, has already passed the second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Akande said the central aim of the bill is to foster sustainable development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the interaction with the stakeholders in the petroleum industry is indicative of their commitment to the transformation of the industry through the PIB.
Sylva assured that working with other stakeholders, including the National Assembly, the PIB as conceived by the Buhari administration would be passed into law.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari said that most of the concerns raised by stakeholders have been addressed in the proposal before the National Assembly, noting that the Federal Government has moved from its previous position to one that is more competitive and attractive to investors.
The Chairman of OPTS, Mr Mike Sangster, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Total E&P Nigeria Ltd, said stakeholders remain committed to making Nigeria the “preeminent hydrocarbon province” in the region and the world.