The Senate has moved to repeal the NNPC Act, and replace it with “commercially oriented and profit-driven” petroleum companies to be incorporated by the government.
This implies that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), would be scrapped and its assets and liabilities would be split between two new companies, namely National Petroleum Company, NPC, and the National Petroleum Assets Management Company which are expected to be incorporated by the Minister of Petroleum Resources within six months if the President finally signs it into law.
This development was fuelled by the long awaited Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which was finally passed on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
In line with the development, three new agencies were established by the senate to ensure better management of the embattled oil and gas sector.
The new agencies established in the PIB include – the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC), the Nigerian Petroleum Asset Management Company (NPAMC) and National Petroleum Company (NPC).
The NPRC which would be made up of commissioners will be headed by a Chairman and the appointments and removals of these members would be strictly based on Senate approval.
Based on the new development, the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) is now under the NPRC.
The NPRC will be in charge of regulating all aspects of the nation’s petroleum industry, including health, safety, environment, technical standards, infrastructural development, compliance with terms and conditions of contracts and leases, and enabling business environment.
It will also have power to grant licenses for downstream gas, petroleum products, retail outlets and transportation and distribution facilities
Speaking to newsmen, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura expressed satisfaction on his committee through the duration of planning.
He said: “Today we have achieved what people believed was impossible to accomplish.”
Similarly, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Akpan Bassey, expressed optimism on the possibilities of the bill if it gets signed.
In his words, “The jinx has been broken. It will create the right signal to international community that Nigeria is ready for business.”