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At Last! Senate Pass Petroleum Industry Bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), on the last legislative day of the seventh Assembly.

The idea of the PIB  began in 2007 following the recommendations of a Presidential Committee set up to carry out oil and gas sector reforms in Nigeria. The reforms were expected to form the nucleus of Nigeria’s aspiration to become one of the most industrialized nations in the world by the year 2020.

The House had on Tuesday suspended the consideration of clause 209 of the PIB, due to some contentious issues. But on resumption of the consideration of the adhoc committee’s report, the outgoing members chorused ‘yea’ when the deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, put the questions on each of the clauses.

He said that the House took painstaking steps in constituting the adhoc committee on PIB in order to reflect the diverse interests of the country.

“I want to believe that the House has done its best and represented our constituencies very well. Barring last minute unforeseen circumstances, today may be our last sitting day.”

Ihedioha had on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the politicking during the consideration of some clauses.

It will be recalled that in 2011 the PIB was suspended on the last legislative day of the 6th Assembly, and has since then not been revisited.

What is PIB?
PIB is a bill that, when passed as an Act, becomes the master reference law that governs the Nigerian petroleum industry – from the upstream division (exploratory, development and production activities) through the midstream (gas processing) to downstream (servicing, refining, distribution, transportation, marketing/retailing).

Background
Shortly after President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office in his first term (2007), he set up a committee, called the Oil and Gas Industry Committee (OGIC), with a mandate to take a comprehensive look at Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and offer better ways of managing the industry. Obviously, many of the laws and regulations guiding the industry had been around for long, some far back 1950’s, and although they had undergone amendments, the federal government considered it necessary to take an holistic review of the industry with a view to getting the best of it by all stakeholders. The OGIC was led by Mr. Rilwanu Lukman, veteran petroleum engineer and former Secretary-General of OPEC, and had other oil industry eggheads. The committee submitted its report, and its recommendations formed the basis of Petroleum Industry Bill, which has since been subjected to further reviews and adjustments.

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