In the revised Petroleum Industry Bill, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation will not be scrapped but commercialised in line with deregulation move across all streams in the sector, the minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said.
He said this while addressing journalists on Monday after a joint meeting with the National Assembly leadership.
"We have heard so much noise about NNPC being scrapped but that is not envisaged by the Bill at all. NNPC will not be scrapped but commercialised in line with deregulation moves being made across all the streams in the sector comprising upstream, downstream and midstream .
"We have said that NNPC will be commercialised. But If you are talking about transforming the industry, the only new thing that we are introducing is the development of the midstream, that is the pipeline sector - that sector between the upstream and the downstream which because the framework was not there has not really developed very well.
"So we have provided robustly for the growth of the midstream sector. Through commercialisation, the required competitiveness in the sector will be achieved," he said.
The minister further said not only will host communities get the best deal from the bill but through it, the industry will be transformed and the Petroleum Equilisation Fund and the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency will not exist in the same form that they exist today.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported some details of the bill as reported by Punch newspaper.
The bill proposed the review of the existence of the NNPC and the PPPRA. It also proposed the creation of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited - after all the asset and liabilities of the NNPC must have been identified by the ministers of petroleum resources and finance and establishment of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
During the meeting with the National Assembly leaders, Mr Sylva emphasised the need for speedy passage of the PIB to make the best of investments from the sector before 2040.
On his part, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, vowed to break the PIB jinx by ensuring its passage.
"Now the bill is an executive bill coming to the National Assembly. The two chambers promise that we will break that jinx. We want to see an oil industry in Nigeria that is properly regulated, an oil industry that not only sustains the investment that we have but attract even more investment, an oil industry that is very competitive."
In the same vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said even though the National Assembly will ensure speedy passage of the bill, it will not sacrifice thoroughness.
"We will not sacrifice thoroughness on the altar of speed because it will be in the nation's best interest. We have assembled a crack team of legislators in the House who are versed in the workings of the industry. It is an Ad-hoc Committee drawn from the House Committees on oil, upstream, downstream, local content and gas.
"So there is a crack team that will be working with you as we are all trying to go to the same destination."
The legislation, which has now been submitted to the lawmakers, is expected to be read in both chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday.