After about two decades, Nigeria has finally signed into law, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a landmark achievement. The signing of the PIB comes one month after it was passed by the House of Representatives and the Nigerian Senate, and is expected to dramatically increase investment by providing a framework for the country’s oil and gas activities.
With a primary focus on investor certainty and transparency, as well as the enhancement of the sector’s attractiveness for international investment, the newly passed PIB is expected to position Nigeria as one of Africa’s top energy markets. By integrating 16 petroleum laws into one comprehensive and coherent document, that provides a framework to boost oil and gas output, the PIB will accelerate investment and development in a post-COVID-19 landscape.
The signing of the PIB represents a significant moment for Nigeria, and is set to drive foreign investment through an established enabling environment, large-scale energy developments through a productive and coherent regulatory framework, and increased local participation through local content focused policies. Accordingly, the Bill has paved the way for an influx in new developments, and African Energy Week (AEW) taking place in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November 2021 aims to emphasize this.
Speaking on the impact the bill is to have, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk, is positive that it represents a new dawn for the country and Africa’s oil and gas sector despite coming 20 years late.
‘’In the last 20 years, a lot of opportunities have been lost. Opportunities for greater investments, for young Nigerians to get into the oil industry, opportunities for host communities and more foreign investors to come in and improve Nigeria’s energy sector, opportunities lost to solving issues of energy poverty.’’
Energy poverty remains a big issue in Nigeria, as more than half of the population do not have access to 24-hours uninterrupted electricity. Industries as well have suffered from this constant lack of power supply, thereby resulting to job losses and company closures and/or relocation out of the country.
On why the passage of the bill signals a new dawn, Ayuk, said they have had the time to assess the problems all through the 20 years it wasn’t passed and with the problems having been identified, it is time to now implement solutions.
“It’s now time to seize this moment to drive up an industry that can transform Nigeria if we implement what President Muhammadu Buharihas signed,’’ he said.
He went further to state that, ‘’it’s not just about the Nigerian energy sector but the Nigerian economy going forward because there are incentives to drill offshore Nigeria in Deepwater and bring those petroleum products to benefit everyday Nigerians. There are also opportunities like monetizing of gas. In the era of climate change, gas monetization will be key. I will call this bill, an energy industry bill that transitions Nigeria into a green economy andpowers Nigeria into driving industries that go in there. You are going to see a big spur of investments coming into Nigeria.’’
The African Energy Chamber says it will continue to advocate for policies that encourage transparent implementation of the PIB. Government policies and the implementation team must be rational, fair and honest. They must do their work to ensure that this PIB spur’s investment, innovation and competition.
The Executive Chairman of the Chamber, NJ Ayuk, also confirmed that the bill would be a top of the agenda conversation at the Africa Energy Week (AEW) taking place in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November 2021.
‘’We are going to put the petroleum industry bill right at the top. That is the most transformational, enabling environment regulation that is the game changer for Africa. This Africa Energy week is going to be different from what you have ever seen. It is going to be us putting out a message that you are welcome to Africa and showcasing that.”
AEW 2021 in Cape Town is set to promote Nigeria’s post-PIB opportunities, uniting investors and international partners with Nigerian stakeholders. With a Nigerian delegation coming to Cape Town led by H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum, Nigeria will be on show to the world and investors will have a first-hand look at emerging opportunities and competitive prospects. Join international stakeholders, government representatives, and private sector executives at Africa’s premier energy event, and be part of Nigeria’s exciting energy future.
SVW Communications contributed to this interview