The Federal Government has said crude oil will play less critical role by the year 2040 based on forecast in the global oil market.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, while speaking with the leadership of National Assembly at an interactive session on the proposed Petroleum Industrial Bill, asked Nigeria to utilise its oil wealth at a time it matters most.
According to Sylva, based on the forecast from the industry, oil will in the next 20 years become less relevant in the global energy mix as the world looks beyond oil and seeks alternative sources, adding: “Whichever ways you look at it, it appears the days of oil are numbered.”
The Minister, who lamented that the nation has already wasted 20 years on the passage of the PIB, which is already before the National Assembly again for consideration, said the passage will make Nigeria an attractive investment destination.
Speaking earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, told the Executive that the bill will not be passed if the the lawmakers do not understand it.
The Speaker said the House of Representatives will pass the bill speedily, but will not sacrifice thoroughness on the altar of speed and it will be in the national interest.
Gbajabiamila said: “We will pass the bill speedily, but we will not sacrifice speed on the altar of thoroughness and it will be in the national interest.”
Also in his remarks, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the bill had been submitted to the National Assembly two weeks ago and it will be read at the Senate Plenary session on Tuesday.
The Senate President vowed that the National Assembly will break the jinx on the PIB this time around.
He said the lawmakers needed to have proper understanding of every available clause in the bill so that they will expedite action on it.
According to Lawan: “This bill is an executive bill and we promise that we will break that jinx.
“We want to see an oil industry that is properly regulated, competitive and benefit Nigerians.”
The bill will create a Limited Liability Corporation into which the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum would transfer the assets of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The government would then pay cash for shares of the company and it would operate as a commercial entity without access to state funds.
The legislation would also amend controversial changes to deep offshore royalties made late last year by cutting the royalty that companies pay the government for offshore fields producing less than 15,000 barrels per day to 7.5 per cent from 10 per cent.
It would change price-based royalty too for when oil prices climb above $50 per barrel, rather than $35.
The measure would also scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, which distributes cash to keep nationwide petrol prices uniform and create new regulatory bodies, scrapping the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and transferring to a new commission many of the tasks currently handled by the Department of Petroleum Resources.
In attendance at the meeting were NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, and other principal officers of the National Assembly.
According to Section 53 of the bill, the minister shall “within six months from the commencement of this Act, cause to be incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, a limited liability company, which shall be called Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC Limited).
“The minister shall be at the incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult with the Minister of Finance to determine the number and nominal value of the shares to be allotted which shall form the initial paid-up share capital of the NNPC Limited and the government shall subscribe and pay cash for the shares.
“Ownership of all shares in NNPC Limited shall be vested in the government at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance incorporated on behalf of the government.”
The bill also proposes the establishment of an agency known as the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, which will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.
Section 4 of the bill states in part: “There is established the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (the commission) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
“The commission shall have the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, sue and be sued in its own time. The commission shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.”
The proposed law also recommends the creation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, known as The Authority.
Section 29 of the bill states in part: “There is established the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (the Authority) which is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
“The Authority shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry.”