By Jane-Frances Oraka
The National Assembly is expected to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill by end of April to ensure competitiveness in oil and gas industry.
Rep. Mohammed Mongunu, the Chairman of House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum, told newsmen on the sideline of the visit of the NASS Joint Committee on Petroleum to the Port Harcourt Refining Company in Eleme, Rivers, on Wednesday.
According to him, our intention is to pass the PIB with the speed of light by the end of April, 2021 so that Nigeria will get the benefits of reformed oil and gas industry.
He said that there was the need for a reformed oil and gas industry ”that is much more competitive, attracts much needed foreign direct investment and then conserves our own foreign exchange for more deployment of infrastructure needs”.
Mongunu, who is the Co-Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Ad Hoc Committee, said that the main thrust of the PIB ”is to reform the oil and gas industry to make it more competitive and to bring the operations in tandem with the international practice”.
He said that the committee was in the PHRC to see its constraints and how best within the provision of the PIB it could leverage on same for enhanced revenue.
He noted that it was with a view to attracting the much needed investment in the oil and gas industry especially against the backdrop of the fact that the world was moving away from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
”So, there is need for us to make our oil and gas industry more competitive to attract the much needed investment by reforming same,” he said.
He said that the issue of turnaround maintenance of the refinery would be captured within the context of the PIB.
Mongunu added that the issue of privatisation of the refineries was at present the decision of the executive as NASS had yet to take a decision on it.
Also speaking to newsmen, Mr Ahmed Dikko, the Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), said that the turnaround maintenance of the company would begin in April if COVID-19 pandemic could permit.
He said that all the approvals and support required from the government and NNPC had been given and a team had been dedicated for the project.
”We have done a lot of activities; we are very confident and are sure that we are going to bring back this facility’s optimum production capacity in a very short time.
”Our engagement has been very different; we try to carry everybody along, we try to open up and show a lot of transparency in what we do.
”The whole arrangement is concluded and approvals are almost got; so, by and large, by next month or April at most, we mobilise to the site if COVID-19 permits.
”We hope to run this through to second quarter of 2023 when we begin to commission all the work we are doing in phases.
“We then drag these activities probably a little bit more than that so that we have a complete rehabilitation of the whole facilities,” he said. (NAN)