National News

Implementation of Petroleum Industry Act to begin this week – Senate

The Senate has said the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act will start this week as soon as it confirms the appointment of the nominees for the two regulatory agencies created by the new law for the oil and gas sector in the country.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Bassey Akpan, disclosed this during an engagement with top executives of international and local oil firms operating in Nigeria.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had, in a letter dated September 16, requested the upper chamber to confirm  board members for the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

Akpan told the oil chiefs during the meeting that the implementation of the PIA would start this week.

He said the nominees, who would be screened by the Petroleum Resources committee (Upstream and Downstream) on Tuesday, would be confirmed by the Senate at plenary on Wednesday.

He added that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had also concluded arrangements for a comprehensive stakeholders’ meeting as part of plans for the full implementation of the PIA.

He, therefore, encouraged the IOCs to submit their proposal for the setting up of the Host Communities Trust Fund for the panel’s perusal, as required by the provisions of the law.

He also said the oil firms should start making plans to relocate both their operational base and headquarters to the Niger Delta based on the resolution of the Senate last week.

He said the passage of the PIA and its implementation would guarantee their lives and property in the oil-rich region.

Akpan said the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) would monitor the relocation process in collaboration with the Presidential Committee on PIA implementation.

He said, “We have set aside the month of October for our oversight activities. We have not been able to do so until now because we have spent the last 14 months working on the PIB.

“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources said the executive is preparing a comprehensive stakeholders meeting on the way forward.

“The key issue that has been brought to the attention of the National Assembly is that of host communities.

“We all know how apprehensive the host communities are, as regards the implementation of the bill, especially as it affects their interests.

“Also, the Senate motion, which led to the resolution that oil companies should relocate their operational base to their host communities will receive the attention of the committee.’’

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