Nigerian privatisation council endorses oil and gas policy

Jul 06, 2005 02:00 AM

A major step towards the process of deregulating the oil and gas sector of Nigeria's economy was taken when the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) endorsed the National Policy on Oil and Gas.
The policy proposes among other things a National Petroleum Directorate (NPD), a Petroleum Inspectorate Commission (PIC), the National Oil Company (NOC); the National Petroleum Resource Centre (NPRC) as well as a Petroleum Product Distribution Authority (PPDA).

The policy, which covers all aspects of the oil and gas industry, is geared towards securing for the country maximum sustainable value from the strategic industry.
The NCP said the policy also contains recommendations on how to revamp the operating agreements, contracts and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) governing the operations of the upstream sector. Also, it examined the operations of the refineries, pipelines, depots and retail outlets and recommended full deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

The vexed issue of increasing local content was thoroughly examined in the new policy while due attention has been given to the gas and petrochemical sub sector with a deliberate design to encourage private sector participation in the sector.
Issues of corporate social responsibility, health, safety and environmental responsibilities of all stakeholders, as well as the need to review, amend and harmonise the various laws and regulations governing the industry with a view to producing an all-encompassing petroleum legislation for the nation was also well articulated in the document.

Vice President Atiku Abubakar had, while inaugurating the Oil and Gas Sector Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) in April 2000, charged the committee to articulate and produce a policy document that would not only stand the test of time, but would afford the nation the opportunity to benefit maximally from its vast oil and gas resources. Under the new policy, some new institutions are to emerge in the oil and gas industry to take care of perceived lapses inherent in the current system.
Mr Chigbo Anichebe, Head, Public Communications Division of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said the action is in line with the objective of government to subject sectoral policies to detail scrutiny and determine to what extent such existing policies could be reviewed, restructured or modified before the sector could be effectively privatised.

Source: This Day
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