House of Reps announces zonal public hearings

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, announce  today, Sunday 21st April, that it is to hold its zonal public hearings in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Lagos, Kaduna, Ilorin & Gombe on Monday 22nd April & Tuesday 23rd April. The announcement may be found here. The Lagos public hearing is to be held at the Lagos Airport Hotel from 9 am to 4 pm each day. Given the importance of the PIB, the very short notice given by the committee is extremely disappointing is likely to affect the quality of the debates held at the sessions.

PIB passes second reading in the House of Representatives

The Petroleum Industry Bill successfully passed through the second reading phase in the House of Representatives. As reported by Channels, there was no dissenting voice when the vote was called. The House has constituted a 23 man Special Ad hoc Committee led by Ishaka Bawa, the Chief Whip of the House to review the Bill in detail. We shall provide you with a list of the other members of the Ad hoc Committee as we receive them.

House of Representatives commence debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill

Nigeria’s house of representatives commenced debates on the General Principles of the PIB yesterday. The Bill’s second reading, which is usually a perfunctory stage in the legislative process, has been characterised by very robust debates on certain key terms of the Bill. Some of the issues raised related to the establishment of the Petroleum Host Communities Fund and the discretionary powers of the Minister. The debate continues in the House of Representatives today. See the reports in the Tribune and AfriqueJet.

Downstream Stakeholders Forum – October 2nd

The Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) of the House of Representatives today announced its Downstream Stakeholders Forum. The theme is “The Downstream Regime in the Petroleum Industry Bill: Stakeholder’s Perspective”. This is a by invitation only event and will hold on the 2nd of October. This forum is different from the public hearings that will be held by the committee after the second hearing of the PIB. Details of the forum and the relevant contacts can be found here.

Fiscal Provisions of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill: A not so quick-and-dirty assessment, Part I

Feature Article by Dr. Ekpen J. Omonbude

Background

After what can be described as a very, very long wait, the Nigerian Government has forwarded the Petroleum Industry Bill (‘PIB’ or ‘the Bill’) to the National Assembly. This follows a series of drafts, disputes and revisions as the Government, the international oil companies (‘IOCs’), and the legislature failed numerous times to agree on previous versions.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources (‘the Ministry’) describes the PIB as potentially “one of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of the oil industry in Nigeria, changing everything from fiscal terms to the make-up of the state-oil firm”. It is clearly an ambitious document, one which in our assessment could change, fairly significantly, the way in which the oil and gas business is conducted in Nigeria if passed into law as-is.

The industry has greeted the PIB with mixed reactions. For some upstream E&P players, it does not appear that there is satisfaction with the fiscal terms as stated in the Bill. For others, there appears to be a certain degree of confusion as to what would apply when, and how. International organisations appear to have taken a position of quiet optimism for now.

At over 220 pages, the PIB is a daunting read for most non-lawyers. It does however try to simplify what is currently a difficult petroleum legislative and regulatory framework to explain to the untrained eye (lawyer’s paradise, anyone?). Highlights of such attempts at simplicity are the apparent amalgamation of the relevant petroleum sector laws into one piece, and a reduction of the points of fiscal burden to a handful of fiscal instruments. The Bill in fact defines fiscal rent as “the aggregation of royalty, Nigerian Hydrocarbon Tax and Companies Income Tax obligations arising from upstream petroleum operations[1]. This simplicity may not however translate to reduced fiscal burden. In my view at least three separate pieces of legislation could have been submitted to the National Assembly, rather than one, but this is not the purpose of this particular exercise. Continue reading “Fiscal Provisions of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill: A not so quick-and-dirty assessment, Part I”

Arbitrary Powers in the Petroleum Industry Bill

One of the significant highlights of the PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL 2012 are the arbitrary powers granted under it. In particular, ministerial power has been consolidated and appears to retain the colossal status of ministerial influence under the Petroleum Act 1969. This is in addition to the new absolute discretionary power granted to the President to grant petroleum prospecting licences and petroleum mining leases under the Bill. Our upcoming papers will spell out some of these powers along with other highlights of the PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL 2012. In the meantime, Thisday highlights some of the arbitrary powers introduced in the Bill here.