By Akpokona Omafuaire, Warri
WARRI – MINISTER for Petroleum (State), Dr Ibe Kachikwu on Saturday said that the passage of the modified Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will open up the oil and gas sector to new local and international Investors for competitive growth and development in line with international best practices.
Kachikwu revealed this during the 20th Convocation ceremony of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun Delta State.
He noted that the PIB, which is being considered in phases by the National Assembly, is set to overhaul the entire industry governance framework to fiscals and regulatory form of the oil and gas sector.
According to him, “I therefore want to state firmly that the PTI would benefit immensely from the passage of the bill because I am optimistic that the implementation of the Industry reforms through the enacted bill will strongly open up the oil and gas sector to new local and international investors.”
He added that PTI is going to play a significant role in the construction of a model modular refinery which the federal government has mandated the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to construct.
He said the modular refinery, when operational would be used for experimental training and for teaching purposes, adding that the PTI will engage in the training and retraining of manpower in line with the change mantra of the Buhari administration.
The Petroleum minister noted that in spite of the setbacks occasioned by wanton destruction of oil facilities and installations as well as decline in the country’s crude production by over 700,000 barrels per day due to activities of militants in the past, the federal government has achieved tremendous reduction of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Kachikwu said recent development in the fall of oil prices across the globe and other challenges have caused serious ripple effects on the fortune of the country, noting that these developments has underscored the global shift to gas.
“The successful implementation of the New National Gas Policy, I must point out, would lead to the harnessing of Nigeria’s vast gas resources and commercializing our gas flares for the economic development of the nation,” Kachikwu said.
He promised the institute that the federal government will continue to support it in achieving its mandate of ensuring that the institute becomes a leading oil and gas capacity development institute that produces the requisite manpower need of the oil and gas industry.
“To realize this vision, I urge students, staff, and management of the institute to give their maximum cooperation to ensure that the Principal/Chief Executive achieves the mandate given to him by the Federal Government,” Kachikwu said.
To actualize the institute’s Digital PTI (DiPTI) project, Kachikwu said the Federal Government has appropriated the sum of 200 million naira in the 2017 budget for the take-off of the project, adding that “the federal government will ensure the release of more funds until the DiPTI dream is achieved.”
Meanwhile the institute conferred PTI fellow on Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange of PTI and former Pro-Chancellor, FUPRE, and Chief Frank Kokori, former Secretary-General, NUPENG, in recognition of their outstanding achievements in education, economy, politics and notable contribution to oil and gas industry.
According to the Principal of the Institute, Prof Sunny Iyuke, 1,102 students of the institute were awarded National Diploma and Higher National Diploma certificates respectively while 24 graduates were awarded the PTI General Welding Certificates in the 2015/2016 academic session.