We’ll pass PIGB latest by April, says Senate

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Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill that is currently before the National Assembly will be passed into law latest by April this year, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum, Upstream, Senator Donald Alasoadura, has said.

He stated this during a plenary session at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, while discussing how new legislation and policies could transform Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

According to Alasoadura, the PIGB seeks to address all governance-related issues in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, adding that by the end of March, it would have gone through its third reading.

He noted that barring unforeseen delays the bill would become a law afterwards.

He stated that Senate would subsequently pass two additional laws to complement the PIGB, but did not disclose them.

Alasoadura said, “Once a bill gets to its third reading, it is as good as being passed. We are expecting the bill to be passed in March or latest by April. The Local Content Law will also be properly taken care of. We have asked for areas of amendment from the executive secretary and we will be glad to do it.

“We know we need laws that are in line with international standards. We need a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that will be smooth, commercially oriented, that can run smoothly and make money.”

Earlier in his speech before the panel discussion commenced, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told delegates at the conference that Nigeria was now producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil daily.

This, he said, was largely due to the decline in the activities of pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region, adding that the country would surpass its 2017 budget benchmark for crude oil production by the second quarter of this year if the relative peace in the South-South persisted.

“We hope to ramp up production above 2.2 million barrels by the second quarter of this year, which is above the budget benchmark for 2017,” he said.

Baru also stated that the problem of joint venture cash calls, which the corporation used to have with international oil companies, had been addressed and that the country was able to save about N915bn due to its ability to exit the arrangement.

He said, “The problem of JV cash calls has been addressed after rigorous negotiations with our JV partners. The initial sum of about $8.1bn was reduced to about $5.1bn with agreed payment terms spanning five years through incremental production.

“This notable achievement has saved the nation about $3bn and has also permanently resolved the lingering issue of JV cash call arrears.”

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