PIB will move power from individuals to institutions – Expert

An oil and gas expert, Mr Isreal Aye has said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly will move power in the petroleum industry from individuals to institutions.

Aye, the Senior Partner, Energy and Commercial Contracts, Primera Africa Legal, made the assertion on Wednesday in Lagos at a Media Engagement Session on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The session was organised by the Facility for Oil Sector Transformation Project (FOSTER).

Aye said that under the current 1969 Petroleum Act, the regulation of the petroleum industry was vested in one individual (the Minister of Petroleum), adding that had created a myriad of problems.

He, however, said the PIB would bring a lot of changes in the sector such as creation of more jobs, expansion of tax base and creation of a new company called the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC Ltd).

“The current NNPC will continue to exist but not as the trading platform.

“The new NNPC Ltd which is to be created under the Corporate Affairs Commission will no longer be funded by appropriation.

“It will be funded by equity and debt and it will hopefully be free from public burden,” he said.

He said presently,  no department was created by law to regulate the petroleum industry and that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), a delegate of the Minister of Petroleum, had no statutory basis for its existence.

He said that the Petroleum Act didn’t provide for an independent regulator of the petroleum industry and that the scope of the minister of petroleum’s supervisory role was not clear.

The oil and gas expert said that the delay in the passage of the PIB had created an aura of uncertainty for individuals seeking to invest in the industry.

He said said that the absence of a clear cut legal and fiscal framework in the country’s oil and gas industry, would make it almost impossible to attract investors.

“The delay in the passage of the PIB has created a state of uncertainty as no investor will model uncertainty. As a result, we have had a steady decline in investment.

“If there is a time the PIB is to be passed into law, it is now because of the dynamics in the legislature,” he said. (NAN)