New draft petroleum industry Bill ready for National Assembly

The Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) on Wednesday approved the new draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), saying the document would be delivered to the National Assembly in the next couple of days.

At the weekly meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, deliberations focused extensively on the draft law, which is a product of over 16 oil and gas industry laws brought together in one comprehensive document.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku told reporters at the end of the meeting that the approved draft Bill is expected to be forwarded to the National Assembly in the next few days after some amendments have been effected.

The draft PIB, which seeks to give the country’s oil and gas industry a comprehensive legal framework, would provide the basis for the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into five independent commercial entities.

The companies that are to emerge for the unbundled NNPC include National Oil Company (NOC), National Assest Management Corporation (NAMC), the National Frontier Exploration Services (NFES), National Gas Company (NGC) and the Host Community Fund (HCF). 

Mr. Maku, who was supported during the briefing by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adeshina, said the PIB, when passed into law would ensure competitiveness as well as promote rapid development of the petroleum sector.

The new PIB also proposes revolutionary amendments to existing laws to protect the interest of the host communities as well as promote transparency and accountability in the operations of the industry.

“The new bill looks at new areas that were quite critical,” Mrs. Alison-Madueke said. “First, are the Inspectorate, the regulatory agencies for the oil and gas sector to ensure that they are independent to actually do the regulations. 

“We also looked at the unbundling of the NNPC, which have been very critical, to create out of the old NNPC, a National Oil company, which will be independent.  It will be a registered company, which will have shareholding. It will be ceded acreages and take over current infrastructure in the oil and gas sector, like refineries, depots and certain downstream entities as well as production sharing contracts.”

The minister said an asset management corporation is created as a holding company, which would operate an asset management company that would be a competitive private sector-driven company, adding that the company would hold the country’s joint company hydro carbon asset. 

She explained the roles of some new agencies, like the National Frontier Exploration Services Unit, which would reside in the new Petroleum Policy Bureau (PBU), which would be a technical arm of the Minister’s secretariat.  

“This would be a unique department reporting directly to the Minister. It is expected that it will very robustly drive the seismic data acquisition for our various inland sedimentary basins. We created a very interesting fiscal regime and framework, which has been of great interest to operators in the oil and gas industry both foreign and indigenous,” she said.

“We have also created a National Gas Company (NGC) within the framework of the PIB, which will absorb the former NGC, along with all the former infrastructures. This gas company will drive the gas for power and gas for industry that are absolutely critical for our economy as we go forward.”

She said existing parastatals, such as Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF), the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) and the National Content Development Management (NCDMB) would continue to exist until they are no longer necessary, while new Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF) would take care of the host oil communities.

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