The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Thursday threw more light into the draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that has just been transmitted to the National Assembly and the features that make it different from other fake versions reportedly making the rounds, adding that the new Bill is tamper proof.
The Minister made the clarifications while receiving a delegation of the United States of American government led by Mr. Michael Froman, a Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States and Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs.
Alison-Madueke said besides the watermarks bearing her own handwriting on every page, the draft Bill is locked in with a code such that no one can add to or remove anything from it without the code, explaining that she took the pain to secure the document to avoid the type of duplication that led to the emergence of fake versions of the old PIB which created confusion in the National Assembly.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said the new PIB was drafted with equity in mind and that the concerns of the international oil companies were taken into consideration so as to engender a win-win situation for Nigeria as well as stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
She listed some of the new provisions in the Bill to include those creating the Asset Management Company which will take over the management of the Joint Ventures from the NNPC which will be unbundled to make way for the establishment of a new company, the National Oil Company which will be competitive and profit-driven.
The Minister also briefed the US delegates on the worrisome trend of professional and foreign involvement in crude oil theft, adding that with the establishment of a Special Task Force made up of senior military officers, more arrests are being made and that the President has directed the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure diligent prosecution of any oil thief arrested.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said effort was being made to introduce a number of measures such as electronic bill of laden, DNA tracking of and certification of Nigerian crude oil to make it less attractive for it to be stolen.
On gas development, the Minister explained that when the new PIB is passed into law, “it is expected that gas will be the next area of explosion for the country and it will take over from crude oil because Nigeria is actually a gas nation considering the enormous gas reserves we have”.
“There is a robust plan for the commercialization of gas resources to serve as feed stock for industry and not just gas for power generation; in this connection, we have an arrangement with Nagarjuna of India and Xenel of Saudi Arabia to establish fertilizer and petrochemical plants and a central processing plant to make gas the fulcrum of industrial development,” Alison-Madueke stated.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, corroborated the Minister’s presentation on efforts being made to commercialize gas, saying that gas infrastructure were being aggressively developed to get gas to end users as well as to align gas supply with demand.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Mr. Froman, commended the Minister for taking the pain to ensure the authentication of the PIB, urging her to remain open to on-going dialogue over the bill.
Mr. Fidel Pepple
For: Group General Manager
Group Public Affairs Division,