In a move apparently designed to manage Nigeria's 187 trillion Standard Cubic feet gas reserves, the House of Representatives Committee on Gas, yesterday, started a public hearing on two bills that would enhance gas management and attract foreign investors into Nigeria.
To this end, two bills entitled: "An Act to establish the National Gas Resources Development Agency and Related Matters and An Act to establish the Nigeria Gas Processing, Marketing and Regulatory Board and Other Related Matters," were presented by Frederick Agbedi, PDP, Bayelsa, to stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
According to Agbedi, "with the Federal Government's commitment to diversify the economy to stop or at least cut our over reliance on oil alone, we should see gas as a ready option and strive to explore all opportunities, carefully avoiding whatever mistakes we may have made in the oil boom era.
He explained that "the bills are seeking clear and simple lines of responsibility and accountability so as not to have this sector intermingled in a web that makes account procedures blurred."
Earlier, in his welcome address, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by the Whip of the House, Ado Doguwa, praised the proposed bills and asserted that the gas industry bills were timeous.
He said: "I am very delighted for the opportunity presented by this public hearing on the two Bills. These Bills seeks to establish the much needed legislative framework to free-up Nigeria's gas deposits from the overarching concentration on crude oil production at the detriment of gas production.
"The Bills are expected to propel the country to give gas development, production and marketing its pride of place.
"If these Bills are eventually enacted into law, they will help create the enabling legislative order in which gas shall no longer be a footnote of crude oil with the attendant overriding benefits to the Nigerian economy."