Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged stakeholders in the oil industry to find and agree on cheaper means of producing oil in the country.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the vice president spoke at a virtual meeting on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) with stakeholders in the industry.
The stakeholders operate under the auspices of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) in Nigeria, and Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG).
The vice president called for a more competitive environment that met the need and purposes of the Nigerian nation including the largest production volumes possible.
“We need to agree on terms that will give us a more competitive environment.
“We should find a way of producing oil cheaper at the largest volume possible given the circumstances and future of oil itself, and of course, given our requirements and needs.
“The other point is that of gas; to sound the question of reconciling and maintaining our domestic gas obligation, and at the same time improving the gas environment in such a way that we are able to benefit maximally from it as a business and government.
“I like the concept that gas should be an enabler for quick development and I think that we must reach some kind of balance with this, especially with this question around domestic gas obligation.
“I would like OPTS and IPPG to look more carefully and see in what ways we can come to some agreements as to how it should be done.”
Osinbajo said that the passage of the PIB should be seen as an opportunity to transform the industry by addressing lingering issues that had impeded development across the different sectors that make up the industry.
According to him, businesses will like to invest and invest more in the environment.
“So, that is the point of convergence.
“We want more investments and obviously state governments like more investments, and you (private companies) would like to invest so that you can make more money.
“No question about that; what we should seek to do is to see to what extent we can come to that convergence,” he said.
The new PIB, which was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in Sept. 2020, has passed the second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The central aim of the bill is to foster sustainable development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Timipre Silva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the interaction with the stakeholders in the petroleum industry was indicative of their commitment to the transformation of the industry through the PIB.
He said that working with other stakeholders, including the National Assembly, that the PIB as conceived by the Buhari administration, would be passed into law.
On his part, Mr Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said that most of the concerns raised by stakeholders had been addressed in the proposal before the National Assembly.
He said that the Federal Government had moved from its previous position to one that was more competitive and attractive to investors.
Mr Mike Sangster, Chairman, OPTS and Managing Director, Total Nigeria Limited commending the efforts of the Federal Government in guiding the process of having a new law for the industry.
He said that the stakeholders remained committed to making Nigeria the “preeminent hydrocarbon province” in the region and the world.
Other participants at the meeting included Mr Laing Richard, Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil in Nigeria, Mr Rick Kennedy, Chairman of Chevron Nigeria Limited and Chairman of IPPG, Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero.