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Nigeria’s oil industry survival depends on immediate implementation of PIA

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Solomon Ezeme

 

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps towards full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) stressing that it is the only way the sector can survive in the face of emerging global challenges against the industry.

Participate at the 2021 NAEC Strategic International Annual Conference expressed this views adding that the nation’s economy depends largely on the sector hence urgent and concrete steps most be taken to start the implementation of Act, instead of continued debates.

Commending the Federal Government on the enactment of the PIA, Professor Wunmi Iledare, Director of Energy Information Division of Centre for Energy Studies, urged the government to stop wasting time on implementing the Act. Adding that it is the only way to ensuring growth and development in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

“I think it is better to start than never to start. It’s better to be late than never. But we must first rejoice that we have gotten to this point where we have the PIA.

“We also commend the government, to a large extent, for not really looking for revenue from gas development per se.

“They’ve been giving a lot of incentives to make sure that gas becomes a part and parcel of the Nigeria economic framework.

“Where we should go now is to the implementation of what is put in paper. We have a very good natural gas policy,” he said.

He advised the government to continue with its resolution to utilize gas in the transition to clean energy and called for increased participation.

“I think we have a PIA that is friendly to natural gas development. Implementing those strategies is the key to unlocking natural gas.

“Yes, there are certain things we need to look into because of transition to renewable energy. But I really don’t think that Nigeria should worry that much.

“This is because the globally acceptable transition fuel is in abundance, in Nigeria. And so, how we go from translating resources to production capacity will require what I call “the Tripple Exit Model” where there’s interaction between the government, the industry and the academic. And none of these aspects should be left behind,” he said.

Similarly, discussants at various panel sessions emphasized the urgent need to foster the transition to gas. They also changed the government involve all stakeholders in the process of achieving transition.

Team Lead, Platform Africa, Mr Adeola Yusuf said government needs to start communicating with the people for feedbacks. According to him, the common man on the street as well as the masses must be carried along in the transition process.

“We’ve heard a lot about what gas has in stock for Nigeria. The prosperity, the liberation, the development in the sector and all that.

“But how do you tell someone who just bought a 12.5 kg of gas 2 months ago at the rate of N3500 but now have to buy same quality at the rate of N8000, that gas is the solution for Nigeria? And you are still telling that person that PIA is the solution.

“To that person, you are merely talking. He’s just waiting for the moment the Labour will stage a protest – he would definitely join the trend.

“So, it still boils down to the reality of the fact that we have been talking but have not been communicating. The Nigerian masses want to know why we have this situation on ground.

“And the best way to go about it is to start communicating, henceforth,” he said.

He advised government not to avoid further delays in engaging the masses to know what they want, through the media especially.

On his part, PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo, in order to hold government accountable, timelines must be set for achieving goals while the people keep track of promises made by government.

“Part of the way forward should be; let’s have a masterplan, let’s have a schedule and let’s have a timeline. Then we can say; in this masterplan, item one for example, government said this is what we are going to about CNG.

“So, between this time and that time, we are going to do this on CNG. Then they get it done.

“Let the timeline and schedule be there and let government kick start it and demonstrating the needed goodwill and good fate. That could be done within 3-6 months.

He challenged the media to be on top of its game in informing the public about the progress level of government’s projects, including how funds are being managed by public servants.

Contributing to the discussion, Emmanuel Omuojine, Head of Strategy & Business Development, RainOil, advised government to be time conscious.

He stated that Nigerian must be made to understand that the deregulation of the petroleum downstream is not just in the interest of the present generation but also for the benefit of generations to come.

He called on the federal government to properly utilize the available gas resources for the planned energy transition, as well as, make business easy for gas operators in the country.

“I think the PIA is a very welcome initiative. The important thing is the deregulation which we have been saying. Can we begin to implement?

“We’ve lost time and we’ve lost billions of dollars in terms of investments in oil and gas. So, we have just 30 years – that’s what the government is setting.

“For us, we are not just planning for the over 200 million Nigerians; we are planning for the 0ver 400 million Nigerians that we are expecting in another 20 to 30 years. So, it’s a journey we are just starting, it’s a transition, it’s gradual. So, we’ll take steps towards that.

“But it’s important we start now to optimize the resources we have. Gas is our transition fuel. We need to optimize it, and it takes sincerity of purpose.

“The regulators have to ease that process for the operators and for the general public,” he said.

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