Ahead of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has urged stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to devise cheaper means of producing oil and also ensure a more competitive environment that meets the needs of the country.
He said in line with the next level agenda of the Buhari administration, there is need for stakeholders to agree on such terms and maximize opportunities in the industry.
Osinbajo spoke at a virtual meeting on the PIB with stakeholders under the auspices of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) in Nigeria, and Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG).
“We need to agree on terms that will give us a more competitive environment. We should find a way of producing oil cheaper at the largest volume possible given the circumstances and future of oil itself, and of course, given our requirements and needs.
“The other point is that of gas. To sound the question of reconciling and maintaining our domestic gas obligation, and at the same time improving the gas environment in such a way that we are able to benefit maximally from it as a business and government.
“I like the concept that gas should be an enabler for quick development and I think that we must reach some kind of balance with this, especially with this question around domestic gas obligation.
“ I would like OPTS and IPPG to look more carefully and see in what ways we can come to some agreements as to how it should be done,” he said in a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, a copy of which was emailed to Persecondnews.
On the benefits of harmonizing interests on the PIB, Osinbajo said the passage of the bill should be seen as an opportunity to transform the industry by addressing lingering issues that have impeded development across the different sectors.
“Businesses would like to invest and invest more in this environment. So, that is the point of convergence. We want more investments and obviously state governments like more investments, and you (private companies) would like to invest so that you can make more money.
“ No question about that; what we should seek to do is to see to what extent we can come to that convergence,” the Vice-President said.
The new PIB, which was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in September last year, has already scaled the second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The bill amongst others, is to foster sustainable development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Silva, said the interaction with the stakeholders was indicative of their commitment to the transformation of the industry through the PIB.
He assured that working with other stakeholders, including the National Assembly, the PIB as conceived by the Buhari administration would be passed into law.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, said that most of the concerns raised by stakeholders have been addressed in the bill now before the National Assembly, noting that the Federal Government has moved from its previous position to one that is more competitive and attractive to investors.
Commending the efforts of the Buhari administration in guiding the process of having a new law for the industry, the Chairman of OPTS, Mr Mike Sangster, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Total E&P Nigeria Ltd, said stakeholders remain committed to making Nigeria the “preeminent hydrocarbon province” in the region and the world.
Other participants at the meeting include the Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil in Nigeria, Mr Laing Richard; the Chairman of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr Rick Kennedy and the Chairman of IPPG, Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, among others.