• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Multiple regulators unhealthy for oil, gas industry -DPR

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The Department of Petroleum Resources has lent its voice to those industry operators that have been crying over the implication of having multiple regulatory agencies in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill.

Osten Olorunisola, the director of the agency, said the multiplicity of such regulatory agencies would create confusion in the industry and therefore they should be streamlined so far the reform which the bill is meant to achieve would not become stunted.

The operators were of the view that such multiple regulations are unhealthy and would create problems by the time the implementations of the bill commenced.

According to the director while fielding questions from reporters at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, where the Nigerian delegation’s theme focused on the Petroleum Industry Bill, he said, it is true that PIB created multiple regulations adding that the lawmakers must take another look at the issue.

“This area still has to be looked at, not from the point of what can be resolved in Nigeria alone, but by actually looking at the benchmarks across the whole world. Apart from fiscals, one thing international investors look at is the robustness, simplicity and transparency of your regulation.

He said the National Assembly is aware of this and urged them to take the issue very seriously. “I think they will look at it very well. However, in looking at it, we also have to take our local environment into consideration. The mere fact that there is only one regulator does not mean that we cannot have another two or three. The only thing is that it has to work. It does not have to become a bureaucracy to the industry. That is really the point. Any institution where there are too many regulations, is recipe for disaster. I think the National Assembly will look at that angle,” he said.

On whether the DPR is worried that with the streams of regulations, some of its functions may be whittled down in the process, he said that it is not just DPR, adding that even the PIB itself has addressed it to some extent. He said some of the extant regulations that have been around, have been somehow addressed in the PIB, but that stakeholders are however waiting until it becomes an Act.

The DPR boss however stated that the continued dialogue and debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by stakeholders will produce a robust and balanced Act at the end. He said the more the dialogue, the closer the middle ground where the provisions in the bill will be acceptable to all stakeholders. He however, noted that out of the over 200-page document, only provisions in 10 pages are seen as contentious and often discussed.

He said: “My view is that you cannot take away the importance of dialogue. The more we discuss, the more we share, the more the chances that we will get to a common ground at some point. In my view, I am quite happy with what has happened at this conference. It shows there is still a lot of interest. The mere fact that people are speaking their minds is even the important thing. If people keep quiet over their views, it does not help.”

On the divergent views of stakeholders on the bill, he said the bill has several hundreds of pages, adding that the areas of divergence people are talking of are less than 10 pages. People, he stated, have repeatedly been talking about these 10 pages, thereby completely undermining the 200 pages that are areas of convergence.

Stories by OLUSOLA BELLO