The Punch

N’assembly wants gas flare penalties invested in host communitie­s

- ’Femi Asu and Okechukwu Nnodim

He penalties paid by oil and gas companies for flaring gas in the country will be invested to build midstream gas infrastruc­ture in host communitie­s, according to a new provision introduced into the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly.

The PIB provides for the establishm­ent of two regulators for the country’s oil and gas industry, namely the

Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

“Moneys received from gas flaring penalties by the commission pursuant to this subsection, shall be transferre­d to the Midstream Gas Infrastruc­ture Fund for investment in midstream gas infrastruc­ture within the host communitie­s of the settlor on which the penalties are levied,” the Senate and House of Representa­tives said in subsection (4) of section 104 of the bill.

According to the Senate, considerin­g the current drive of growing domestic refining, there is expected growth in gas flaring from refining operations.

“Hence, the need to provide legal basis for the Authority to enact a regulation on the penalty payable by applicable midstream operators,” it said.

The upper chamber said the penalties should not be perceived as attractive government revenues and thereby implicitly condone the continuati­on of flaring.

“Instead, the penalties should be used in the MGIF in order to expand the use of natural gas, so flaring can be reduced,” it added.

According to a new provision (subsection (2) of Section 105) inserted by the National Assembly into the bill, the commission shall have the right to take free of charge natural gas that is destined for flaring at the flare stack.

“It is important for the commission to be able to take gas to be flared for free at the flare stack in order to provide such gas to parties that may have an economic use for the gas.”

The Federal Government had assured operators in the industry and other stakeholde­rs that the PIB would soon be signed into law by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who gave the assurance in Abuja, said the bill would be signed into law because it would ensure openness in the industry.

Sylva disclosed this when the Board of Trustees of Corruption Reporters led by Yunusa Tanko gave him an award for championin­g anticorrup­tion fight by promoting transparen­cy in the industry.

The non-passage of the PIB, which dragged for about 15 years, was halted two weeks ago after both chambers of the National Assembly passed the bill.

Commenting on the bill after receiving the award, Sylva said, “The PIB, which has been passed by the National Assembly, would soon be signed into law.

“And it will change the narrative and fast-track transparen­cy and openness in the petroleum industry for the developmen­t of the nation.”

The minister said the government had also adopted other measures to enhance transparen­cy in governance and address corruption.

He explained that corruption in Nigeria was often pronounced at three levels, namely point of revenue collection, the treasury and contract execution.

He said, “But with introducti­on of the Treasury Single Account, the practice has been significan­tly curtailed at the revenue collection and treasury levels but still striving at the level of contract implementa­tion.

“Now, eliminatin­g it at the third level is the responsibi­lity of everyone by reporting sharp practices.”

Sylva commended the group for honouring him with the anti-corruption champion award and pledged to continue in the fight against acts that would put the Nigerian oil industry in bad light.

On why the minister was honoured by the group, Tanko said the recipient of the award had instituted transparen­cy and accountabi­lity in the oil sector.

 ?? Photo: Stanley Ogidi ?? •L-R: Co-founder/chief Executive Officer, Adspace.ng, Kunle Yakubu; Business Developmen­t Officer, Adspace. com, Omolara Adesokun; Chief Operating Officer, Adspace.ng, Kehinde Olofintuyi; Head, Human Resources, Bukola Yakubu; and Chief Financial Officer, Ayo Yakubu, during the official launch of Adspace.ng in Lagos… on Wednesday.
Photo: Stanley Ogidi •L-R: Co-founder/chief Executive Officer, Adspace.ng, Kunle Yakubu; Business Developmen­t Officer, Adspace. com, Omolara Adesokun; Chief Operating Officer, Adspace.ng, Kehinde Olofintuyi; Head, Human Resources, Bukola Yakubu; and Chief Financial Officer, Ayo Yakubu, during the official launch of Adspace.ng in Lagos… on Wednesday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria