The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National PetroluemCorporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, has lauded the introduction of the Petroleum Host Community Fund in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), saying it will help to curb pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.
In a presentation, “Post PIB Challenges, Prospect and Opportunities”, at a seminar organised by the Petroleum Exploration Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) during the just-concluded Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, USA, the GMD noted that the proposed fund would incorporate penalties to host communities in the event of vandalism in their localities.
“The proposed fund “is a mechanism to formally recognise host communities as important stakeholders by assigning oil and gas infrastructure security to the host communities and minimising environmental degradation due to vandalism and crude oil theft”. It also includes modalities for using regulations to increase flexibility in managing host community issues,’’ he said.
Describing the PIB as an essential tool for the sustainable development of the industry in Nigeria, Yakubu emphasised that the proposed law presented multi-dimensional approach to the nation’s oil and gas resource management that will ensure greater active contribution by players and stakeholders under prudent government structure of the industry.
“It also stipulates guidelines for operations in the upstream and downstream sectors that can be viewed in terms of the following thematicareas: policy, legal and regulatory dimensions, economic dimensions including participation and ownership, knowledge based human and institutional capabilities, environmental stewardship as well as governance structure for sustainable resource development,’’ the GMD said.
In his contribution, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Emmanuel Paulker reiterated the readiness of the Senate to work with the executive to ensure smooth passage of the bill.
“I cannot commit to any particular date but I know that this PIB must be passed.’’ he said.
Speaking in the same vein, House Minority Whip and Chairman House Committee on PIB, Hon. Samson Osagie restated the commitment of the National Assembly to ensure that the bill is passed into law as soon as possible.
“The position of the National Assembly on the petroleum industry bill is that we are passionate about passing this bill into law because it consolidates about 16 legislation in the sector and for the first time the Nigerian Government is coming out to say that this industry needs to be re-organised and reformed so that the eventual benefit will get to the government and people of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Osagie stated that as a body the National Assembly was determined to strike the delicate balance that would not comprise the interest of the nation or chase away potential investors. He however debunked claims by some international oil companies that the proposed fiscal regime in the PIB is one of the toughest in the global oil and gas industry.
“I don’t think that in all its entirety the fiscal regime as contemplated by the PIB remain the harshest in the industry worldwide but I believe that there are some sections that we may need to look out especially in the area of gas exploration. We may need to work had to ensure that we attract the right investment,’’ he added.
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku, May 14, 2013