THE Federal Government, has once again reinstated its stance on the proposed reform of the oil and gas sector, while stating that there was no going back on the oil and gas industry reform.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, said at the 27th Annual International Conference and Exhibition organised by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Abuja that the Federal Government was determined to put in place a qualitative assessment of the industry in other to ensure a sustainable development and growth in an efficient manner, even as it also pointed out that the industry was facing core challenges that has made the nationâ€™s oil and gas industry perform below its resourceful standards.
Ajumogobia said: â€œOur industry is sleeping indeed, reasons include the following: Security issues in the area of operation, Niger Delta; decline in production; ageing infrastructure; insufficient funding; long project saturation plan and lack of sustainable and effective framework to ensure the development of the host communities.â€ The Minister of State for Petroleum, who lamented this situation in the petroleum industry, stated that the reform in the industry would go a long way to foster improvement of the nationâ€s oil and gas industry.
The major move to achieve the required change, according to him, was the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently undergoing the process of approval at the National Assembly.
The minister refuted claims that the bill would hamper investments in the industry, particularly from foreign investors, noting that it would rather promote investment and make the industry more lucrative and be at par with its contemporaries across the world.
Ajumogobia said the Federal Government was committed to its vision of sustaining growth, maximize reserves and improve on production capacity as well as reserve base, stressing that with the improved security situation in the Niger Delta region, Nigerian production level would increase tremendously.
He pointed out that the present status of the region would further help the nation to unlock its production capacity, which had been shut_down earlier, thus enhancing the ability to initiate new projects, provide avenue to repair the damaged facilities and ultimately reduced cost.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, while commending NAPE for taking the lead in supporting Federal Governmentâ€s efforts to boost oil production and reserve, said the theme of the conference: â€œâ€Shelf to Deepwater Exploration: Shifting Paradigm was timely and would contribute to improve the countryâ€s oil reserve to 40 billion barrels.