The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the upper chamber of the National Assembly is working to ensure the completion of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill in the fourth quarter of this year.
Saraki stated this in Lagos on Monday at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Research and Development Fair and Conference 2017 organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
The PIB, which has been in the works since 2008 when it was first introduced to the legislature, suffered setbacks in the 6th and 7th National Assembly.
Saraki said the PIB was split into four parts – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill – to fast-track its passage into law.
The Senate, on May 25, 2015, passed the PIGB, which seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and merged its subsidiaries into an entity.
Saraki, who was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said the PIB established clear rules, regulations, procedures and institutions for the efficient administration of the petroleum industry.
He stated, “This bill establishes the legal and regulatory framework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Nigerian petroleum industry. It also stipulates deadline for operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.
“Given the high expectations for the PIB and the long controversy that had surrounded the passage of the bill for over a decade, we needed to break it into four parts to enable its passage into law within the short time frame we have.”
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill had all gone through second reading.
“We expect the report from the committees in no distant time and hope to pass the bills into law within the next quarter,” Saraki added.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the nation’s oil and gas industry had operated for about 60 years, but sufficient attention had not been paid to the development of local research capabilities.
He stated, “Over the years, international oil operating and service companies in Nigeria took all their research problems back to their home countries or to centres across the globe without recourse to our involvement by local universities and research centres.”