The decline in global crude oil prices necessitates a review of the Petroleum Industry Bill so as to iron out all the grey areas in the bill, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
The PIB has been before the National Assembly for about seven years.
The NNPC boss also stated that prior to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the major problem of the corporation was the lack of political will by the government to implement the outcome of researches and reports that had been done.
Kachikwu, who chaired a special session at the ongoing 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja titled, ‘Legal and Regulatory Framework of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria: Review of existing laws and the PIB,’ described the PIB as an essential legislation that must be approached with all the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves.
The GMD, in a statement from the corporation, was quoted as saying, “PIB is a serious affair, it is an essential piece of legislation, but as we all know a lot of engagement is required to address all the issues because the oil and gas environment has changed. There are issues of cost, with oil going down to $40 per barrel, the PIB cannot be the same.”
The NNPC GMD explained that because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it was only natural to kick-start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law.
Commenting on what the Federal Government intends to do with the draft legislation, Kachikwu stated that PIB had come to stay, though it would take some time to perfect the draft.
He said, “PIB is important, but we need to x-ray the issues. We need at least one year to get it back on track. The reality is that we cannot afford to wait any longer for change in the petroleum sector because of the delay in the passage of the PIB. Things have got to start happening and that’s exactly what we are doing.”