By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has begun moves to ensure that all Oil and Gas Companies in Nigeria as a matter of urgency, relocate to the operational bases especially in the Niger Delta geo-political zone of the country.
To fast track the movement of the companies, the Senate on Tuesday, mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources Upstream; Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas to liaise with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to facilitate the relocation of the oil and gas companies in Nigeria to their various operational bases to ensure their smooth operations.
The Committees on Upstream; Downstream and Gas are chaired by Senators Muhammed Sabo, All Progressives Congress, APC, Jigawa South West; Albert Bassey Akpan, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East and James Manager, PDP, Delta South respectively.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion titled, ‘rgent need to encourage all multinational and Nigerian Oil and Gas Companies to relocate to their Operational Bases.’
The motion was sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East and co- sponsored by 23 others.
Presenting the motion, Senator Akpan said that “The Senate notes with concern that multinational and Nigerian oil and gas companies have over the years been operating from their respective operational bases until militancy and insecurity in the host communities in the Niger Delta became the order of the day;
“Also notes that the reason proffered by the oil and gas companies for not relocating to their host communities has always been due to insecurity and hostilities in the host communities.
According to him, the Senate is “Aware that operating outside the host communities and the operational base is the reason for the high cost of production which has been the bane of the country’s oil and gas industry, militating against maximum revenue from crude oil and gas sales to the Federation Account;
“Recalls that this high cost of production has been one of the most contentious elements of our petroleum industry value chain:
Senator Akpan said that the Senate is “Convinced that the recent passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (PIA) by the National Assembly and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively, is a major milestone towards the restoration of lasting peace in the host communities;
“Further convinced that the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 now places certain responsibilities on the security, peace and safety of oil and gas infrastructure on the host communities to safeguard and ensure peaceful co-existence between oil and gas companies and their host communities;
According to him, the Upper Chamber is “Further convinced that is an opportunity to restore, recover and rehabilitate the massive and huge infrastructural facilities abandoned by the various oil and gas companies in their various operational bases to ensure their full utilization; and
“Assured that the relocation of these companies to their host communities will further boost development in those areas and enhance the corporate social relationship and strengthen our collective resolve to considerably reduce the contentious cost of production and ensure adequate returns to the federation account.”