The long awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, which is hoped to proffer solutions to the myriads of challenges facing the Nigerian oil and gas sector, was on Thursday passed by the Senate.
This followed the adoption and clause by clause scrutiny of the report by the Senate joint committee on gas, petroleum (downstream) and petroleum (upstream), which was presented by Ondo state Senator, Donald Alasoadura.
The PIB seeks to introduce reforms that would engender transparency and accountability, while at the same time making the oil and gas sector more business-oriented and profit-driven.
It also pushes for a more inclusive development away from crude oil to other product lines and by-products and robust engagement between international oil companies, IOCs, and the government in the area of investment and modifications in the Joint Venture Partnerships, JVPs and cash call obligations.
It is understood that the PIB seeks to restructure organisations like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, as well as set up new companies like the National Oil Company, NOC, and the National Petroleum Assets Management Commission, NPAMC.
The NOC when created will be an “integrated oil and gas company operating as a fully commercial entity and will run like a private company”, while the NPAMC will be a “single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry”.
The NPAMC will also be responsible for health and safety regulations in the industry, and will work together with the Ministry of Environment on environmental issues.
Speaking after the pill was passed, Senate President Bukola Saraki, congratulated his colleagues for the ‘feat’, noting that the bill has taken more than 8 years.
“I congratulate the 8th Senate with the passage of this landmark bill which has not been passed for many years,” Saraki said.
“I want to congratulate all those who contributed to this bill, for many years we have not been able to pass and we made a commitment at the beginning of this 8th senate that we will pass this bill.
“Not only Nigerians, our friends in the petroleum sector have been waiting for us to put down a framework that will ensure transparency and accountability and create and an enabling environment for the petroleum sector.
“I hope with this bill, the oil and gas industry will see a new form of investment, we will plug all the loopholes and reduce the corruption and inefficiency,” he added.