Abuja, Nigeria | – The current move by the Nigerian National Assembly to scrap the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its new version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has sent shock waves across the oil industry.
National Assembly’s version of the controversial PIB clearly recommends the dissolution of the NNPC, DPR and PPPRA.
Part three (3) of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2016, anticipates in section 4 subsection 1 that “from the date of the commencement of this Act, without further assurance, the Commission shall be vested with all assets, funds, resources and other movable and immovable properties which immediately before the commencement of this Act were held by the Petroleum Inspectorate, the Department of Petroleum Resources and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
“As from the date of the commencement of this Act, the rights, interests, obligations and liabilities of the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources and the Petroleum Products Regulatory Agency existing immediately before the effective date under any contract or instrument or at law or in equity shall by virtue of this Act be assigned to and vested in the Commission.”
The section adds that “any such contract or instrument covered by subsection 4(a) of this section shall be of the same force and effect against or in favour of the Commission and shall be enforceable as fully and effectively as if instead of the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources or the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the Commission had been named therein or had been a party thereto; and the Commission shall be subject to all the obligations and liabilities to which the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency were subject immediately before the Effective Date and all other persons shall as from the Effective Date have the same rights, powers and remedies against the Commission as they had against the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency immediately before the Effective Date.”
When the Bill is passed into law, the new commission would also play advisory role in advising the minister of Petroleum Resources on policy, laws and regulations.
“The Commission shall administer and enforce policies, laws and regulations relating to all aspects of petroleum operations which are assigned to it under the provisions of this Act or any regulations made in pursuance of this Act or under any other enactment,” it states in part.
The new commission will also “monitor and enforce approved standards for design, construction, fabrication, operation and maintenance for all plants, installations and facilities utilized or to be utilized in petroleum operations, in consultation with the Ministry of Environment, ensure adherence to applicable national and international environmental and other technical standards by all persons involved in petroleum operations.”
The commission is also expected to establish, monitor, regulate and enforce health and safety measures relating to all aspects of petroleum operations, keep public registers of all leases, licenses, permits and other authorisations issued by the commission or the minister and any renewals, amendments, extensions, suspensions and revocations thereof.
The Senate also seeks to empower the commission to “monitor the activities of the holders of leases, licenses, permits and other authorisations issued by the Commission or the Minister to secure and enforce compliance with the terms and conditions thereof and carry out enquiries, tests, audits, investigations and any other undertakings deemed necessary for performance of this responsibility.”
If the provisions of the legislation make it into a law, the listed agencies will either be dissolved or lose relevance.
The PIGB is believed to be a National Assembly version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which has been before the National Assembly since 2005.