By Akpobor Jirue, Abuja
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the petroleum industry bill (PIB), saying the move marks a significant milestone for Nigeria’s oil industry, as well as being an historic achievement for the President.
OPEC’s Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, stated this in a letter to President Buhari on Monday.
Barkindo opined that the signing into law of the PIB has inaugurated a new era for the oil and gas industry in the country. According to him, the assent follows years of legislative efforts at strengthening the legal, regulatory, fiscal and governance framework of the petroleum sector.
“Indeed, the new law will enhance the Nigerian petroleum industry’s reputation, open door to new investments, and ultimately make strong its position to meet the world’s growing demand for energy.
“The enactment of this legislation is especially timely as the investment outlook becomes clouded by efforts aimed at accelerating a lower-carbon future,” he stated.
In his view, the new law will help harness the country’s potential to achieve her programme of raising oil production to 4 mb/d and oil reserves to 40 billion barrels, while also drawing on the country’s vast natural gas reserves to provide clean and efficient energy.
He explained that, these resources will be vital to supplying world markets with a broad portfolio of energy options, and support global efforts to alleviate energy poverty as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7.
“The passage of the PIB by both Chambers of the National Assembly on 16 July 2021 and your act of signing it into law coincide with another significant milestone in our country’s history – the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s membership of OPEC.
“This golden moment provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon Nigeria’s rise as a global energy supplier and partner. Since the 24th OPEC Conference on 12 July, 1971, when Nigeria received a unanimous and enthusiastic welcome as the 11th member country of the Organization, our country has come to symbolize Africa’s leadership within OPEC, and its pivotal support for global oil market stability,” he stated.
The OPEC scribe noted that the past year has been a time of enormous challenges for the world and for member countries.
Barkindo also commended the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for what he called ” his invaluable contributions to OPEC.
“Minister Sylva’s shuttle diplomacy earlier this year as Special Envoy of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) to Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and South Sudan contributed to the improvement in conformity levels with the voluntary production adjustments and compensation of overproduced volumes.
“He carried out this important mission with great aplomb and garnered the respect of his fellow Ministers,” he said.