SENATE’S PIB HEARING SUFFERS SET BACK

Reports reaching us indicate that the much anticipated second hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (“PIB”) by the Senate, slated for October 9, 2013, has been postponed. The Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Petroleum, (Upstream), Senator Emmanuel Paulker, billed this down to the ongoing Hajj exercise. We shall keep you informed on further developments.

NAEC to Hold PIB Themed Conference

The National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) will hold its annual conference on August 22, 2013 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos by 9 a.m. This year’s conference is themed “PIB: Harmonisation and Implementation for Economy Growth”.

In a Press Statement by Yunus Yusuf, NAEC’s Secretary, he confirmed that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, legislators, as well as other stake holders in the petroleum and power industry will be in attendance.

The Keynote address will be delivered by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Andrew Yakubu. The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Engr. George Osahon, will speak on “Expectations and Challenges of Effective Regulation in a Deregulated Regime” and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Ernest Nwapa, will deliver a paper titled “Three Years of NCDMB: Achievements and Challenges.”

Other papers to be delivered include “Driving Capacity Growth in a Liberalised Power Sector” by Prof. Chinedu Nebo, “Balancing National Interest with Investment Incentives” by the Chairman, Senate Joint Committee on PIB, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker, as well as papers from the OPTS Chair, Mark Ward, and the PIB Team lead, Ministry of Petroleum, Engr. Abiye Membere.

SENATE’S JOINT COMMITTEE ON PIB HOLDS PUBLIC HEARINGS (DAY 1)

The Senate’s Joint Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), yesterday, July 18, 2013, held the first of its two-day public hearing on the Bill.

As reported in ThisDay and the Guardian, stakeholders in the petroleum industry (including the Minister of Petroleum Resources, State Governors and representatives of both government parastatals and oil companies) made their presentations on the Bill before the Senate’s Joint Committee.

International and local oil companies under the auspices of Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) opposed the passage of the PIB in its current state. In a presentation made by the Managing Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria, Mr. Mark Ward, the OPTS said the PIB fell short of addressing the challenges in the oil industry.

He observed that the Bill sought to significantly increase royalties and taxes making Nigeria one of the harshest fiscal regimes in the world, a situation that will culminate in the country, as an oil and gas producing region, becoming uncompetitive as projects will now become uneconomical.

Given the enormous expenditure required to develop gas infrastructure, he also opined that an incentive-based approach to domestic gas supply obligations will be required to jump start Nigeria’s much needed gas revolution.

According to him, while OPTS supports the objectives of the Bill and the reforms it seeks, the Bill as drafted will fail in delivering such objectives and will reduce the oil and gas industry contributions to the Nigerian economy.

The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency International (NEITI), in its submissions, explained that for effective regulation of the industry, it was necessary to reduce the powers of the Minister and ensure the creation of autonomous institutions that would promote effective governance and control in the management of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.

NEITI also noted that the Bill did little to protect the Nigerian environment. They insisted that the Bill should provide minimum environmental standards in the relationship between Operators in the sector and the environment.

The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), in its presentation, opposed the Bill’s provision mandating a ten per cent (10%)  contribution of Operator profits to the Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF). The Commission instead advocated exploring the open-ended opportunity available under the Constitution vis-a-vis the provision stipulating that a minimum of thirteen per cent (13%) of the revenue accruing from the Federation Account be paid to oil producing States. They also recommended that the Bill provide for the remittance of revenue by petroleum regulatory agencies into the Commission’s account.

RMAFC’s position on the PHCF was supported by the Governors of Niger and Kaduna State who described its conception as the most controversial of the entire Bill’s provision.

The Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in her presentation, said it would take about five years before the provisions of the Bill could be fully implemented. She urged stakeholders not to personalise or politicise the Bill adding that the PIB was put together in the interest of the nation.

She downplayed beliefs that the Bill accorded enormous powers to the Minister, stressing that the current Petroleum Act actually vested more powers in the office.

She further added that “Whilst we take best practices from other developed regions, we should also work within the understanding of our own socio-economic and social-cultural norms, and create entities and policies that will work and are not destined to fail from the word-go.”

The Minister also noted that the PHCF was proposed to mitigate the human and environmental conditions in oil producing regions and to assuage the feelings of the host communities towards oil and gas companies.

Declaring the hearing open, the Senate President, David Mark, promised that the National Assembly would facilitate the passage of the bill, noting that the pursuit of the Bill must be a win-win situation.

He however urged that: “Oil companies should not take undue advantage of Nigeria. What I do not want is when people begin to threaten that if you do not do this, we will park out of Nigeria. That is not the correct thing. We are conscious of the fact that there is frustration in the oil industry”.

 

 

SENATE SHIFTS PIB HEARING / EXCERPTS FROM HOUSE OF REPS HEARING ON JULY 11, 2013

The Senate’s two-day Petroleum Industry Bill (“PIB”) public hearing session, initially slated for July 16 and July 17, 2013, has been moved to Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19, 2013.

The hearings were moved as a result of the Senate’s planned vote on Constitutional amendment and  a valedictory session in honor of the late Senator Pius Ewherido both taking place on the 16th and 17th of July respectively.

The Senate’s hearing will now come up exactly one week after the House of Representatives’ final public hearing on the Bill.

Although hearings failed to hold on Wednesday, July 10 as initial stated, the House of Representatives, on the second day of hearings, played host to a cross-section of stakeholders in the oil and gas industry made up of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers Association (NUPENG), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and other interested stakeholders as reported.

Both NUPENG and PENGASSAN, in a joint presentation, submitted that the Bill conferred excessive powers on the Minister and as such encroached on the powers of the Regulators. The Unions’ position was also shared by Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai.

Speaking in his capacity as Director of the Centre for Africa’s Progress and Prosperity (“CAPP”), El-Rufai suggested that Joint Ventures be incorporated and quoted on the stock exchange to encourage Nigerian’s participation in the petroleum industry. He also panned the President’s indiscriminate powers to allocate acreages.

The General Manager (Commercial), Shell Exploration and Production Africa, Marc den Hartog, said the company “fully supports the aspirations of government as contained in the PIB.” He however suggested that the PIB clearly define the roles and responsibilities of entities, especially those of the Regulators so as to avoid overlaps and conflicts.

NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, suggested that the PIB provide for a public register of corporate entities that bid for, operate or invest in petroleum upstream assets, including the identities of their beneficial owners and their levels of ownership. She also urged for provisions that would allow for cash-call payments for Joint Ventures as a first line charge on the Federation Account. “This means that the federal government’s share of the expenses for JV operation would be paid based on agreed work-plan and budgets directly from the Federation Account, prior to other disbursements from the said account,” she said.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE HOLD FINAL PUBLIC HEARING ON PIB

The House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (“PIB”) in a communiqué issued on Monday, July 8, 2013, has notified the general public of its final public hearing on the Bill.

Members of the public, especially industry stakeholders, professional / interest groups, host communities, state and local governments, have been invited to make representations to the Ad-hoc Committee on the PIB on Wednesday, 9th and Thursday, 10th July 2013 at the New Wing of the House of Representatives National Assembly Complex, Abuja. All memoranda on the Bill are required to be typed, hardcover bound and produced in twenty (20) copies.

The House of Representatives’ hearing is to be followed by a two-day public hearing by the Senate’s Joint Committee on the PIB.

The Senate’s public hearing, taking place on Tuesday, 16th and Wednesday, 17th July, 2013 at Conference Room 022, New Senate Wing National Assembly Complex, is to host the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the 36 State Governors as well as heads of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the first day, and on the second day, Managing Directors of International and National Oil Companies, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Petroleum Marketers, industry stake holders and members of the public.

Stakeholders and interested members of the public willing to make representations on the Bill to the Senate’s Joint Committee are required to submit their memoranda in fifty (50) hard copies and one (1) soft copy to the Committee’s Secretariat in Room SB 10 (Red Carpet), (White House), the Senate National Assembly Complex, Abuja on or before Thursday 11th July, 2013.

REPORT ON THE FEDERAL HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY’S PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL SOUTH-WEST PUBLIC HEARING

The House of Representative’s Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (“PIB”) headed by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Ishaaka Bawa, held its South-West public hearing on Monday, 22 and Tuesday, 23 April, 2013 at Lagos Airport Hotel.

In attendance were various stakeholders in the petroleum extractive industry, petroleum industry consultants and experts as well as representatives from various government departments.

Although the Committee received a handful of remarks on the first day of hearing (particularly from the Lagos State Government), most representations were left till the hearing’s second day.

A representative from Shell expressed concern that PIB’s fiscal framework did not encourage new investments and if passed as drafted, the country stood the chance of experiencing a decline in deep water explorations.

Also contributing, Engr. Dada Thomas of Frontier Oil Ltd. and Mrs. Catherine Uju Ifejika of Britannia-U Nigeria Ltd. spoke on the Bill being unfavourable to Marginal Field Operators and dis-incentivising gas production. They advocated for better incentives for indigenous operators, a less stringent fiscal framework and an attractive pricing regime for operators involved in gas operations.

Speaking primarily on the Petroleum Host Community Fund, Environmental Rights Action’s Executive Director, Mr. Godwin Ojo, called for a redefinition of Petroleum Host Communities. He suggested the need to expand the category of communities classified as Host Communities. He suggested that Host Communities include all States affected by every aspect of petroleum operations and not just the Niger-Delta states.

Rounding up presentations, the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN)’s PIB committee chairperson reiterated the general sentiments the Bill had received since its draft was released in July 2012.

Amongst other things, he expressed the need for the Bill to take more local content initiative, restrict the powers of the President as regards discretionary award of licences and leases, merge the regulatory agencies, allow greater transparency in NOC divestment and provide more tax incentives.

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.

House of Representatives set to hold Public Hearings, other concerns

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the PIB, and Chief Whip of the House, Isiaka Bawa has announced the House’s intention to hold  zonal public hearings on the PIB across the cross section of the populace, TheGuardian has reported.

According to the report, the zonal public hearings to be held simultaneously on April 22 and 23, 2013 in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna, llorin and Gombe would give an opportunity to state governments, state legislatures and professional/interest groups to participate in the passage of the PIB into law. This would culminate in a panel meeting during a three-day conference with the Senate in Abuja for harmonisation at the end of the scheduled hearing. The Abuja hearing, the date of which is yet to be announced would be the grand finale affording the final opportunity to the committee to collate the views of other stakeholders who might have been unwittingly left out of the zonal hearings.

Also in this report and a similar report, The Guardian highlights concerns expressed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on certain aspects of the Bill. A major thread running through the institute’s  recommendation forwarded to the Senate President and members of the National Assembly, was the excessive powers conferred on the Minister. The fiscal terms of the Bill also raised ICAN’s concerns, which argued that the terms were not favourable as they heighten uncertainty and endanger returns on investments.