The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, on Tuesday said the passage of the Petroleum Industry (PIB) bill would boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Mr Joseph Nwakwue, Chairman, SPE Nigeria, made the assertion while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, ahead of the group’s Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit (NEITS) taking place virtually from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27.
Nwakwue decried the non-passage of the PIB bill for almost 19 years, stressing that it had led to uncertainties that negatively impacted Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
He said: “We used to be a choice destination for investment but I am afraid we have lost that place over time.
“Key considerations for investors are resource endowment/density, fiscal terms, ease of doing business etc.
“We have slipped by most measures but there is scope for a rebound if we get the PIB right.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said hopefully it will be passed before the year ends; we are hoping and praying that this happens.’’
On the state of the nation’s four petroleum refineries, Nwakwue said they ought to have been privatised 10 years ago to become operational.
This, he said would have saved the huge funds being spent on them annually by the government.
Nwakwue noted that the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was putting a huge strain on Nigeria’s foreign exchange, stressing that efforts must be made toward the domestic refining of the product.
He expressed optimism that the Dangote Refinery when operational would not only ameliorate the situation but it would help in creating employment for Nigerians in the petroleum industry.
The SPE chairman said other modular refineries that were springing up would also build the capacity of Nigerians, stressing that more investors should be encouraged to invest in the sector.
Nwakwue said: “Nigeria is in a pole position to develop a robust domestic and regional gas market given our location and resource endowment.
“My take is that we need the right policy, a policy that incentivises and encourages private sector leadership with clearly defined objectives and milestones, properly regulated to ensure desired expectation.’’
He said Sylva and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, would join other industry experts across the globe in the summit.
“This summit will hopefully help in articulating policy prescriptions that will guide further development and growth of our industry and country,’’ Nwakwue said.