…Justifies fuel import from Niger Republic
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, said Thursday that the leadership of National Assembly has assured him that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed in April this year.
The minister at a Special Ministerial Briefings coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House in Abuja.
He said the Petroleum Industry Bill would not suffer any setback considering the commitment of lawmakers to its passage into law.
He said the 20-year-old PIB, if passed into law, would steer the country’s economy away from oil to gas, and attract a lot of investments in the gas sector.
The minister also spoke on having functional refineries in the country, saying the planned rehabilitation of Port Harcourt $1.5 billion is a worthwhile venture.
The minister said the federal government remained committed to its promise to deliver a functional refinery to Nigerians in record time.
Fielding questions on the two agreements between Nigeria and Niger Republic for the importation of petrol, the minister said it’s necessary to boost trade between the two countries.
Nigeria and Niger Republic had in July 2018, agreed to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Niger to the proposed Katsina Refinery.
He said Nigeria wants to legalize the thriving illegal petroleum products sale between the two countries.
He Nigeria also needs to share its experience in the oil exploration sector with its neighboring countries.
“You know that Niger is a smaller country and Nigeria is more experienced in oil exploration than most countries in Africa. You find out that most of these countries have these constraints.
“Although we have this agreement wi Niger but they have constraint on how to deliver on it to this country because of the contract they have with the Chinese.
“So, if we realize that they have constraints we can change. The whole idea is that Niger has 20,000 bpd which is even bigger than their consumption.
“There is already illegal trading going on between Nigeria and Niger. So, what we want to do is to see how we can legalize it. We want to begin to create business with out neighbors. This is what ECOWAS and AU are trying to encourage. That is inter-regional trade and begin to trade among ourselves,” he said.
The minister said the processing of award marginal oilfield licenses have been completed with 161 winning bids notified, stressing that 50 percent of them have paid their signature bonuses.
“The process has been completed and there were 161 winning bids and they have been notified and we have started receiving signature bonuses paid by the winners. At least from the last account report I got from DPR, almost 50% of the winners have paid. What we are expecting from the whole process is about $600 million and of course we have also given allowance for people to pay in naira so you have to pick which currency to pay in – in naira or dollars.
“So at this point we cannot give any figure in any currency (referring to how much is paid so far) but just to tell you that payments have been encouraging and they have up to April 20th, so there is some time although the jury is still out but we believe that by April we would have got a lot of them to pay,” he said.