The managing director/chief executive officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Mr.Austin Avuru, has said that the oil industry needs “a strong, independent regulator” for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to work.
Avuru, who is a Fellow of the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), stated this at the 18th Nigerian Economic Summit, which held in Abuja ,last week where he presented a paper, titled “The PIB and the Future of Nigeria’s Oil Industry.”
He told the gathering that the PIB is “the result of an elaborate institutional reform process for the oil and gas sector, initiated in 2000,” noting, however, that controversy has dogged the reform process in the oil and gas sector because of a misalignment of priorities and reduction of the whole PIB process to “a debate about fiscal provisions.”
Avuru cited examples from successful reform efforts in the telecoms, power, aviation and maritime industries where he noted that reforms have worked largely due to strong regulators like “the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for telecoms and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Council (NERC) for power as well as a focus on srivate Sector as source of new investments.”
The Seplat boss noted that for the same level of success to be achieved in the oil industry, using the PIB as the fulcrum of reforms, there “is a strong need to strengthen regulation, introduce a strong, independent regulator, entrench a transparent lease administration and regulation driven by national aspiration.” He also spoke about the need to “eliminate cash call bottlenecks while un-bundling, deregulating and privatising the downstream by privatising the refineries and deregulating products pricing.”