Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, Wednesday announced that the United States of America has stopped the importation of crude oil from Nigeria, a development she said is tied to the discovery of Shale oil and gas in commercial quantity in the US.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, represented by Group Executive Director (GED) Corporate Strategy and Planning of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Timothy Okon, said at an interactive enlightenment workshop on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly, that Nigeria has, however, begun a search for alternative markets.
Saying that Nigeria should adopt sustainable economic policies following the changes in global economy, she submitted that the prevailing global economic arena demands adaptation of policies to new global realities.
According to her, “the global economy is changing and Nigeria must adopt sustainable economic strategy. I know many of you must have heard the Shale gas and the Shale oil revolution. This has literally knocked out Nigeria from the export to the USA. So, Nigeria must adopt. We must change our ways and policies that we may hold dear which may cause us economic stress in the future. So, this market there called the Shale oil and gas has resulted in Nigeria seeking new markets for its oil.”
Mrs. Alison-Madueke again reiterated her call for the urgent passage of the PIB, saying, “the country expects to attain a vibrant economy due to initiatives such as gas price reform, gas commercialization, gas infrastructure framework and others policies that are enshrined in the bill.”
She explained that the passage of the PIB will herald avalanche of job creation by restoring Nigeria’s industrial capacity for job creation opportunities.
She added: “And the sector is one of the sectors that will restore the Nigeria’s industrial capacity for job opportunities for all.”
The minister hinted that the gains from transformation agenda of the current administration have already been demonstrated from the privatization of the power sector.
Chairman of the Nigerian House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, said the operators in the sector are expected to stop gas flaring three years after the passage of the bill.
He noted that the bill must stop pollution and emission from gas flaring when it takes effect.
He further stressed that the bill, which he said has passed the second reading in both chambers of the National Assembly, is delayed partly because the lawmakers insist on doing a thorough job since the sector is critical to the survival of the country.
A Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, advised the National Assembly not to wait for organised labour to picket it before passing the PIB into law.
Describing the PIB as one of the progressive laws that this democracy can give the citizenry, Aremu noted that if the bill becomes law, it could culminate in the creation of 19 fresh companies from the unbundling of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He noted that since the bill provides for local content, the different sectors will engage Nigerians from different professional background.