The Senate has thrown its weight behind the much-talked- about reforms in the nation’s oil and gas industry. The upper legislative chamber last week listed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for the first time on the order paper, and subjected to the traditional first reading.
The high net worth Bill which is listed against the name of Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin as “Petroleum Industry Bill, 2009” is expected to be listed for second reading soon in fulfilment of the lawmakers assurance to President Umar Yar ‘adua that it will be given accelerated treatment.
The PIB 2009 is expected to totally restructure the nation’s oil and gas sector and create new agencies such as: Nigerian Petroleum Inspectorate (NPI), which shall be successor to the assets and liabilities of the Petroleum Inspectorate of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the National Petroleum Assets Management Agency, which “shall be in charge of monitoring and approving costs of ventures in which Nigeria has investments or participating interests, with the objective of maximising the total revenue accruing to the government from the upstream petroleum industry in Nigeria
The brainchild of the Oil and Gas Sector Reforms Implementation Committee (OGIC) which was created last year by the government, the proposed law will also establish the Nigerian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which shall function as the secretariat of the Minister and shall take over any functions, which were previously undertaken by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The PIB also seeks the incorporation of the National Petroleum National Oil Company, which “shall be the holding company and successor to the assets and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company of Nigeria (NNPC)”.