According to reports, the Federal Government may have renamed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as Petroleum Reform Bill (PRB). The draft bill is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly in the next few weeks.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the Nigeria Gas Association (NGA) 10th international conference and exhibition, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, consistently referred to the PIB as PRB.
According to Kachikwu, “On the Petroleum Reform Bill, we are in the process of completing a draft legislation. A draft Petroleum Reform Bill (PRB), which will address institutional regulatory reforms necessary for the petroleum sector, would be passed to the Senate to include amongst the basket of proposals that they have.
“The draft bill will capture the key positions including addressing the current gap in the petroleum act by providing clear rules for the exploration, development and utilisation of gas. It would also address other issues that are critically important to government and investors such as the issue of gas flaring, gas pricing, and provide the basis for gas licensing of activities throughout the gas value chain.”
Kachikwu hinted: “The vision for the sector, for us, is to build an attractive gas-based industrial nation, given primary attention to meeting local gas demand requirement and developing significant presence in the international market. The priority of government is utilisation of natural gas for domestic needs to the power sector.”
Expatiating on the rejigging process, the minister further disclosed that plans were afoot to establish an Independent Petroleum Regulatory Authority through which government would execute its regulatory mandates.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru said that for Nigeria’s gas sector to grow, it requires a new gas policy and an appropriate pricing structure and guarantees for payment.
He said for Nigeria to increase its reserves, there was the need to expand the areas for gas exploration, with the frontier basins explored more aggressively.
The President of the Nigeria Gas Association (NGA), also the Managing Director of Oando Gas and Power, Bolaji Osunsanya said government must create a conducive and enabling business environment, as well as foster the enactment of laws and policies that would enable accelerated gas development.
He hinted that Nigeria’s current gas production could deliver 32 gigawatts if fully deployed for power.