The Federal Government has approved the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which as part of its provisions will provide for the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into five companies.
With its approval by the Federal Government, the PIB will soon be sent to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
According to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the new PIB was presented, discussed and approved at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting Wednesday and got the extensive input of the cabinet.
The new bill, Alison-Madueke said would look at a number of areas that are quite critical. These are the unbundling of NNPC, the creation of an inspectorate unit, independent regulatory agencies, and the architecture of the fiscal regime in the oil and gas sector.
According to the minister, the bill provides for the unbundling of the NNPC by the creation of a new National Oil Company, which will be independent and will be a registered company.
The successor, national oil company which will also have shareholding, will be ceded acreages and will be also take over current infrastructure in the oil and gas sector – refineries, depots and certain downstream entities as well as production sharing contracts.
The bill also provides for the creation of a National Frontier Exploration Services, which will be the technical arm of the minister’s secretariat in order to robustly and actively drive data acquisition for various inland sedimentary data over the next two years
Alison-Madueke flanked by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Labaran Maku, said the PIB has also provided for the creation of an interesting fiscal regime and framework, which has been of interest to various stakeholders including the multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria.
“The details of that, we will give you henceforth. But suffice it to say that we will try to ensure the balance, and that Nigeria will accrue more revenue from the oil and gas sector,” the minister added.
In addition, the PIB has provisions for a crude oil fiscal regime and the upliftment of the utilisation of domestic gas through the establishment of a new National Gas Company, whose purpose will be to drive the Gas Masterplan.
“Ministries and parastatals existing now, like the Petroleum Trust Fund, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Institute of National Content Development Board, Petroleum Host Community Fund, will continue to exist until they are no longer expected to do so as the industry evolves,” the minister explained.
The PIB was first drafted in 2008 but got mired in politics in the National Assembly, on the one hand, and varied interests in the oil and gas sector, on the other hand, which resulted in several versions of the bill.
With the resumption of the 7th National Assembly, it was re-presented but will have to be withdrawn and supplanted by the new PIB.
The current draft of the PIB came into being after the minister set up a Technical Petroleum Industry Bill Committee and the PIB Task Force last January to review and harmonise the various version of the old bill and come up with a new comprehensive draft that will address the concerns of stakeholders in the industry.
Alison-Madueke presented the new PIB to President Goodluck Jonathan about a week and a half ago before it was presented at FEC Wednesday.