Nigeria, presently the world’s ninth largest proven gas reserves country, can easily become third if the ongoing oil sector reform laws, the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIBs) are passed, e360 learnt.
Mr Osten Olorunsola, a former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), stated this in Abuja while speaking at a roundtable organised by the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) in collaboration with Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI).
He said only the PIBs passage and assent can make Nigeria become a competitively attractive country. “Nigeria needs to move more from 1,500 depths to deeper offshore where the acreages are open. Nigeria can easily become the third in the world in terms of gas reserves if we do the needed exploration work.”
Olorunsola, who is the Lead Consultant to the National Assembly on the PIB, noted that until the PIBs become law the country won’t attract the right investment needed for such exploration.
He said while Nigeria sat on its oil sector reform law over the past 18 years, East Africa countries have found 20 tcf of gas within the last 10years, adding that Nigeria is longer the only ‘darling’ in the continent in terms of oil.
“By 2025 the whole of Africa can have gas. The countries we use to sell to could soon start selling to us. We may be sitting on generations because we refused to take certain decisions at some point,” Mr Olorunsola said.
Although ranked ninth in proven gas reserve with an estimated 192 tcf, Nigeria is ranked the 28th gas producer in the world. In contrast, Algeria which is 10th on the proven gas reserve list, is also the world’s 10th biggest gas producer accounting for 2.3percent of total world production.
Emphasising the urgent need for the PIBs passage, Olorunsola said Nigeria is lagging seriously behind with a bid round last conducted in 2007. He added that several other issues such as gas to power, petrol subsidy, oil revenue management, sector funding, ease of doing business, metering, and network infrastructure among others can quickly be resolved with PIB passage.
Initially conceptualised as a single unit bill, the PIB has been broken into four components for ease of passage. They are namely; the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) – presently awaiting presidential assent – as well as the Petroleum Host and Impacted Community Bill (PHICB); Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB); and Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB) which are still undergoing legislative process and expected to be passed before December 25, 2018.
Meanwhile, according to Mr Olorunsola the National Assembly is working on a fifth component of the PIB known as the Petroleum Industry Revenue Management Bill.
He explained that the bill is aimed at addressing issues related to “the holistic management of funds from the well-heads to the bank.” These will include remittance of revenue to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), subsidy deductions among others.
However, he stated that the bill is presently put on hold until issues relating to constitutional conflicts are resolved through a parliamentary amendment of the Nigerian constitution.