NNPC GMD Stresses Need To Fine-Tune PIB

Emmanuel-Ibe-KachikwuThe Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday explained that the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been pending before the National Assembly in the last seven years, requires extensive engagements with all stakeholders to iron out all grey areas.

Dr. Kachikwu, who chaired a special session on the proposed law at the ongoing 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja titled: Legal and Regulatory Framework of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria: Review of existing Laws and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), described the bill “as an essential legislation which must be approached with all the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves.

“PIB is a serious affair, it is an essential piece of legislation but as we all know a lot of engagement is required to address all the issues because the oil and gas environment has changed. There are issues of cost, with oil going down to $40 per barrel, the PIB cannot be the same,’’ Dr. Kachikwu said.

The NNPC GMD explained that because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it is only natural to kick start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law.

“The reform of the petroleum industry is key and it is an area where we are going to put a lot of focus. Transparency is key. Restructuring is key. Sometimes people don’t realize that the problem hasn’t been NNPC, it is a problem of political will to go forward and implement the outcome of researches and reports that had been done but fortunately for us this time around that is what the President has brought to the table. He has strong political will to see this through,’’ he said.

Commenting on what the Federal Government intends to do with the draft legislation, Dr. Kachikwu informed that PIB has come to stay though it would take a bit of time to perfect the draft.

“PIB is important, but we need to x-ray the issues. We need at least one year to get it back on track. The reality is that we cannot afford to wait any longer for change in the petroleum sector because of the delay in the passage of PIB, things have got to start happening and that’s exactly what we are doing,’’ the GMD stated.

Echoing Dr. Kachikwu’s position, Comrade Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who was also President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), noted that though PIB is key, the industry can make do with existing laws to activate essential reforms in the sector.

Oil Workers Suspend Nationwide Strike

Oil workers

Nigeria’s oil workers’ unions have suspended their nationwide strike earlier embarked on in protest of several unresolved issues with the government.

The decision to call-off the strike was arrived at on Friday in a close-door meeting in Abuja between representatives of the union and the Federal Government delegation. The meeting lasted almost 12 hours.

A joint communique was issued at the end of the meeting by the leaders of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the government’s delegation led by the Supervising Labour Minister, Tanimu Turaki.

Nigerian Oil workers had commenced an indefinite strike to protest alleged unfair labour practice and non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

According to officials of the NUPENG and the PENGASSAN, the government have refused to implement agreements reached with the unions on these issues.

At the meeting, the Supervising Minister promised the unions of government’s commitment to resolving all issues they raised, but the striking workers expressed doubt on the willingness of the international oil companies to implement resolutions of their meetings.

Long queues returned to petrol stations in Abuja, the nation’s capital city and other cities including Kaduna, as motorists engaged in panic buying of petrol, while unionists continue to chant solidarity songs, promising to enforce their industrial action unless government takes steps to address the issues.

The House of Representatives says the petroleum industry bill will be passed before the end of the 7th Assembly.

The spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, told reporters on Thursday that the PIB report would be considered when the House resumes from its recess on January 13.

On June 2, the House of Representatives said it would do its best to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill “is passed soon”.

However, since that promise was made at the 3rd Downstream Stakeholders’ Conference of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, till date, the Bill has still not been passed.

 

Experts Call For Effective Regulation To Ensure Economic Growth

babs 1Nigeria needs to address the gaps in its regulatory institutions if it is ready to become one of the top 20 economies by the year 2020. 

This is the position of the Managing Director of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (LNG), Mr. Babs Omotowa at a conference for Federal Regulatory and Intervention Agencies in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Mr Omotowa listed duplication of agencies and laws, ambiguous and obsolete laws, multiplicity of fees and levies, as some of the challenges making it impossible for Nigeria to benefit economically from regulations and standards.

Experts and regulators from different agencies of government and the private sector at a conference on the impact of regulatory agencies on the economic transformation of Nigeria.

Speakers at the occassion call for proper regulations because an ineffective regulatory industry will only continue to stifle the economy rather than make it better.

Omotowa,  listed many challenges  that come with regulations in Nigeria. He said Nigeria needs to shape up to maximize the  economic benefits of regulations which is a critical component of its economic advancement.

He also made a case for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which  is a key regulatory law that will further unlock and maximize the economic benefit of the oil and gas sector .

Going forward, experts at this event share the view that there is a need to stop the establishment of agencies with overlapping responsibility while existing agencies need to be streamlined and strengthened to ensure that Nigeria benefits from regulatory agencies.

Senate Report Clears NNPC, Diezani, Says No $49.8b Funds Missing

Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke
Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The Senate Committee on Finance which investigated the NNPC and Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezianni Allision-Madueke over allegations of fraud levelled against it by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, Wednesday submitted its report to the Senate saying no funds were missing.

In its report, which was laid on the floor of the Senate, the committee stated that it could not see how the CBN Governor arrived at the figure of $49.8 billion in the first instance.

The committee in its findings stated that the CBN, NNPC, Ministries of Finance and Petroleum had resolved through reconciliation that $47 billion had been received into the federation account out of the total oil lifting valued at $67 billion dollars between January 2012 and July 2013.

The committee observed that that there is however a lack of proper and adequate coordination between the key government agencies such as CBN, NNPC, Ministries of Finance and Petroleum, FIRS and DPR.

It also noted that there is poor record keeping and non-challant work attitude by the NNPC for not rendering returns on subsidy claims on monthly basis from January 2012 to date which contributed largely to the creation of the problem at hand.

The committee recommended that the NNPC refund $262 million being expenses it could not satisfactorily defend in respect of holding strategic stock reserve, pipeline maintenance and management cost as well as capital expenditure.

The Senate Committee on Finance, under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi (Kaduna, PDP), took about 5 months to complete its assignment.

The committee also recommended that the subsidy regime be totally abolished and the Petroleum Industry Bill immediately passed (PIB).

PIB Is The Best Thing That Can Happen To Nigeria- Activist

PIBThe Coordinator, Network of Progressive Activists, Timothy Ademola on Tuesday advocated for the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Lamenting about the way Nigeria’s petroleum sector is being run, Mr Ademola also called on authorities t revisit the laws governing the sector so as to put to check those running the sector.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, hosted in Abuja, Mr Ademola said “the Petroleum Industry Bill is the way to go” insisting that “we need better laws to guide ourselves here”.

The PIB, he added, will be the best thing that can happen to Nigeria at the moment, noting that the “oil industry can do better than what is been done right now”.

Ademola praised the National Assembly for the investigations into some reported corrupt practices but urged them to look at some peculiar cases that need their utmost attention “particularly the case of the petroleum minister, Mrs Dieziani Allison Madukeke” wondering why “the minister has appeared before the House committee 200 times” which he added is “more than the time she has spent in her office.

“She has work to do; she has a job to do and she should be given space to do it, but where there are real issues, she should be invited to do it” he pleaded.

He berated the change in figures the suspended CBN Governor had claimed was not remitted to the federation accounts by the NNPC saying the governor should have stood his ground on a particular figure.

He shared President Jonathan’s sentiment over the matter during the Presidential Media Chat that no one can embezzle “$20 billion and hide it under his carpet” without being found.

Passage Of PIB Will Promote Local And Foreign Investment – Yakubu

andrew_yakubuThe level of participation and amount of investment being carried out by local companies in the oil gas sector in Nigeria can be increased tremendously if the provision of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) comes on stream.

This is according to the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu.

Acknowledging the local capacity of indigenous companies at this year’s Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Mr Yakubu said that with the already existing local content law and the eventual passage of the PIB, Nigeria would become the most viable investment destination which will be galvanized by indigenous capacity.

“I am sure what you saw in terms of investments are products of projects that were initiated in the past, projects that are ongoing and projects that have commenced.

“The PIB is supposed to add more value to it and to bring a more sustainable physical regime that will guarantee investment. You can see that we started with players that are predominantly from the west, today we have expanded to all over the world. We have players from the Far East and so on in our activities” he said.

He also gave assurance that  “investments will continue to grow and the PIB is expected to give birth to a more sustainable and more permanent physical regime that can be predictable; that investors can look at and factor into their business model before they come in to invest.”

He added, “Nigeria is the place to invest.”

House To Probe Crude Oil Theft, Ensure Speedy Passage of PIB

The House of Representatives has announced plans to find a permanent solution to the menace of crude oil theft in Nigeria and expose those behind the criminal activity.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal while inaugurating an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the matter, said it is clear the theft is carried out with the connivance of highly placed government officials.

The House has also mandated a joint committee to look into the planned sale of state-owned oil refineries in the country despite the adverse effect it could have on the nigerian petroleum industry.

Tambuwal urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute suspected crude oil thieves in the country.

He noted that the EFCC must act in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies to achieve any success.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for instance, should be made to take a closer look at those behind the transportation and purchase of stolen oil in the country.

“It should act in conjunction with other international law enforcement agencies, for criminal prosecution under the procedure of Mutual Legal Assistance,” he said.

Tambuwal also said the House would act speedily to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in order to address the crime, warning that the House would no longer condone this act of sabotage.

“There is also no doubt that we must try, as much as possible, to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), as soon as possible,” he said.

He charged the committee to look into the report by the Royal Institute for International Affairs, which alleged that Nigeria’s oil was being stolen in connection with highly placed government officials.

Diezani Denies Manipulating PIB To Empower Self

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke has disputed the position being put forward by some lawmakers that the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) gives too much power to her office.

The minister stated her position while speaking with journalists after a meeting with senate members which was said to be a technical briefing on the Petroleum Industry Bill to clear areas of doubt.

The petroleum minister in her presentation said in line with the deregulation drive of the PIB, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will be unbundled to create a world-class National Oil Company (NOC) fashioned against the globally recognised models as Petrobras and Petronas.

She also said the section of the PIB which grants a 10 per cent equity advantage to oil-bearing communities from the net profit of oil companies operating in the areas is not new and have been captured in past bills which failed to become law.

Northern Lawmakers Oppose Allocating More Funds To Oil Communities

Northern Lawmakers in the National Assembly have voiced their objections against some provisions of the the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which seeks more money for the oil producing areas.

The Petroluem Industry Bill is a proposed law Nigerians are very passionate about. The proposed bill is primarily aimed at addressing the legislative lapses in the oil and gas industry. It is also expected to eliminate corruption in the sector.

However, the Northern lawmakers have pin pointed one of their objections as section 116 which seeks more funds to oil producing states. This has led to a disagreement amongst in the National Assembly as lawmakers from the oil producing state are in full support of the said provision.

CJN advocates quick passage of Petroleum Industry Bill

Chief Justice of the Federation, Mariam Aloma Muktar today advocated for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.

Justice Muktar who made the appeal at a gathering to forge a relationship between the Nigerian judiciary and the oil and gas industry, said “the passage of the bill  will eliminate various legislative hiccups and open new frontiers for a more robust oil and gas sector  that will be both private sector led and commercially driven”.

She said the judiciary must remain steady and current in developing capacity to keep pace with the trend of development in the oil and gas sector particularly in view of its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economy and the plethora of oil and gas cases in Nigerian courts.

She recalled that the International Monetary Fund statistics indicate that oil and gas accounts for more than 95% of Nigeria’s export and about 83% of government revenue leading up to more than 40% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Former Chief Justice and the Chairman Governing Board of the International Institute Of Petroleum, Energy Law and Policy, Justice Alfa Belgore shared the same sentiments with the Mukhtar saying he believes the oil and gas law of the country is like a toothless dog and except there is a genuine commitment to amend the laws the full potentials of the sector will never be realized.

Other however advocated the improvement of capacity and knowledge of the ever changing oil and gas laws by judicial officers.

Issues to be considered include International Legal Framework relating to Oil and Gas, Legal Aspects of Exploration and Production Activities in Nigeria and the settlement of disputes arising from oil and gas operations in Nigeria.

 

Bill to decentralize kerosine distribution suffers setback in Senate

A bill which seeks to decentralize kerosine distribution has suffered setback in the Senate.

The bill seeks for direct allocation of kerosine from the Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) to peddlers.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP Abia) stressed that if passed into law, the bill would help stabilize the price of kerosine as well as ameliorate difficulties associated with kerosine distribution to rural areas.

Other lawmakers however did not support the bill on the grounds that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly seeks to encourage total deregulation of the downstream sector.

Speaking against the bill, Senator Ahmad Lawan (ANPP Yobe) said supporting the bill would be encouraging inefficiency in the distribution of kerosene in the country.

Reps receive PIB, to begin consideration of bill after recess

The House of Representatives on Thursday objected to the late presentation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) sent to the House by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke on Wednesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan has sent the latest draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly for debate.

In his letter to the House on the matter, the president had requested for ‘expeditious consideration’ of the bill.

The minority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila had objected to the demand for ‘expeditious consideration’ and sought for the bill to be returned to the executive till the legislature returns from their annual recess.

The Speaker of the House Animu Tambuwal, however, said the House will receive the document but can only begin consideration of the bill upon return from their recess.

The speaker said the House received only three copies of the bill as against the 500 copies requested for.