Stakeholders in the energy sector have called on the Federal Government to speed up implementation of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that a timely takeoff of the Act will provide the country with resources needed to drive energy transition; and achieve global sustainability goals.
This was the view expressed by panelists who spoke on the topic:- “Petroleum Industry Act: The Realities of Sustainable Implementation”, at the Energy Sustainability Conference organised by the Energy Institute in Lagos on Friday.
The session which was moderated by Mr. Gbenga Biobaku, Senior Partner, Gbenga Biobaku & Co, submitted that the success of the PIA, rest on the speedy implementation of the legal provisions, governance, regulation and a fiscal framework. Adding that it is dangerous wasting time in perfecting the content of the Act.
Speaking during the session, Mr Biobaku, commended the Federal Government for constituting the Boards of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC).
The constitution of the Boards according to him, is one of the fundamental principles central to laying the foundation for the effective implementation of the PIA. He added that reducing the regulatory inconsistency will drive growth, provide good governance, transparency and reduce complexity in the entire industry value chain.
He posited that the Commission and Authority need to speedily come on board to give direction to stakeholders so as to address some unclear clauses in the PIA. He said industry players desire a framework to work with, hence the need to speed up implementation.
A panelist, Adeoye Adefulu, Partner Odunjirin & Adefulu, a petroleum Industry policy analyst, while also calling for the hasty implementation of the PIA, charged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources , Ministry of Power and Ministry of Environment to collaborate in designing comprehensive plan for energy mix.
According to him the there is need for stakeholders engagement by the Ministries and new agencies in order to communicate the spirit of the bill to the investors and stakeholders.
He said, “PIA is important in harnessing Nigeria’s oil resources to bankroll the transition fuels and achieve net-zero emission goals. The Federal Government needs to chart a course for the gas development by using the PIA as a tool to unlocking the country’s gas potential,being the country’s transition fuel.
He stated that, “The effective implementation of the PIA will make Nigeria a prosperous economy. As it will make NNPC Ltd operate as a commercial entity, competing with private sectors to optimise the potentials of Nigerian’s oil and gas sector. Nigerian needs the big change and PIA will unlock the change.
John Uwajumogu, Partner/ West Africa Energy Infrastructure, who was also a panelist at the session, said that the PIA will unlock a pool of stranded oil revenues that the country has missed over the years over the non-passage of the Act.
He said, “ PIA will incorporate sustainability into the entire oil and gas value chain. It is a necessity that has come to address inconsistency in the sector.
“Although the PIA does not address all issues in the energy industry but it is a good way to give direction to the investors. So the Government must be sincere about implement the spirit of the act,” he said.
Uwajumogu further noted that policies is not the problem affecting the growth of oil and gas industry, but poor policy implementation and professionalism by regulators.
The panelists also emphasised that the oil and gas industry is on the upgrade mode where new operating technology such as Artifical Intelligence (AI), Data analytics, electronic monitoring and drones are being incorporated to unlock global industry gains.
They concluded that with emerging technologies and new ways of doing things in the oil and gas sector, there is need for careful planning and implementation to achieve a sustainable energy supply.