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NASS May Suspend Annual Recess to Fast Track Passage of PIB by Early 2021

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timpre Sylva has said that the National Assembly (NASS) may have to suspend its 2020 annual recess in order to fast track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which he said should be ready by February 2021.

The need to fast track the passage of the bill in no time is not unconnected with the Federal government desire to end the delays associated with the bill in the past 20 years. Industry players over the years have decried the delay in the passage of the bill which they said had stalled investment in the oil and gas sector.

According to the Minister, his Ministry has finished the drafting work. Adding that the Federal Ministry of Justice has also finished aligning the bill with the existing laws in the industry.

He therefore said it is now for NASS to receive the draft and move ahead to pass the bill. He hinted being in touch with the law makers who had given him the assurance that the bill will not stay in the National Assembly more than six month from the time they receive the draft.

Speaking Thursday in the online Seminar (webinar) hosted by Nigeria Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), titled “Fiscal Regime Design, Government Revenue and Investors Interest in Nigeria Oil and Had Sector” the minister lamented the poor investment and development in the nation’s midstream sector.

He call on investors to invest in the midstream sector.”The midstream is non existance in Nigeria” he said. In response to whether the government will continue to encourage investment and remove monopoly in the gas subsector, he explained that PIB when it is passed will make it impossible to encourage monopoly in the subsector.

“Though only few operators are existing in the gas subsector. But we will not promote monopoly” he said. According to him the ministry is receiving a lot of interest from investors now expressing desires to come into the pipeline business.

On his mandate to increase the nation’s production capacity to 3 million barrel per day, the minister maintained that he is looking forward to up the nation’s production volume. However, he noted that the pandemic coupled with OPEC production cuts have attributed to no small measure in restraining the nation desire to hit 3 million barrels.

But with the expectation from Bonga South and West coupled with the plan to embark on another major bid round after the marginal field bid round the Minister is optimistic that Nigeria will be able to attain 3 million barrels particularly when the PIB has been passed by NASS.