17 May 2001

Nigeria: Assembly to Conduct Public Hearing On National Gas Policy

Lagos — The National Assembly will soon conduct a public hearing on the National Gas policy with the aim of smoothening the rough edges for the purposes of making it more profitable for the players in the industry to convert the otherwise flared gas into commercial purposes.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman House of Representatives Comm-ittee on Gas, Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu othe inauguration of the committee.

According to him, the public hearing will enable the National Assembly pass a legislation that will help reduce the adverse effects on the environment and the Ozone layer as well as boost the nation's foreign exchange earning capability.

The chairman explained that the new legislation would ensure that more indigenous companies participate in the sector.

To achieve this, he said "the regulatory body in the industry would be encouraged to take on the capable indigenous investors as Joint Venture partners," explaining that monopolies and cartels already existing in the sector would be encouraged to open up their operations to competent and capable indigenous investors and professionals.

Ukachukwu said that the National gas policy now in the works will be made to ensure that Nigeria takes its rightful place in the comity of gas producing nations. He described the LNG project in Bonny, the West African Gas Pipeline project and the Gas to Liquid projects as steps in the right direction.

In his speech, while inaugurating the committee, the Deputy Speaker, Hon.

Chibudom Nwuche said that oil companies operating in Nigeria must take concrete steps to increase the involvement of their respective host communities in their exploration activities.

This, the Deputy Speaker said, would be of mutual benefits to both the oil companies and their host communities. He lamented that Nigeria loses about $5 billion annually to the non-participation of the host communities in exploratory activities.

The inauguration was witnessed by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Jackson Gaius - Obaseki.

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