Expert chart course for petroleum industry reforms

Joshua Egbodo

An expert in the petroleum industry, Mr. Israel Aye, has provided guides to reforming the sector in a way to be of utmost value to the Nigerian .

Making a presentation he titled; An Urgent Case For Reforms In The Petroleum SectorIsrael Aye, who is Senior Partner, Energy and Commercial Contracts with Primera Africa Legal told participating stakeholders during a workshop through an online conferencing platform, that with the recent fluctuating price of crude oil in the international market, “we (Nigerians) are seriously under threat”.

According to him, it is expected that the scope of reforms should focus on governance of the petroleum sector, the operational institutions in the sector, the upstream, midstream and downstream, adding that agitations for deregulation of the downstream and subsidy removal appeared sustained because subsidy which is expected to serve the interest of the masses, “is not so, because it is usually misdirected”.

The training was at the instance of Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER), in conjunction with the National Assembly Press Corps, aimed at how the media can engage lawmakers, as well as educate Nigerians more on the need to embrace the expected reforms, and what stakeholders in the industry should do.

On efforts at helping refining of products to be done locally, Aye said private investors should be encouraged. “If you are able to consistently point out the benefits of something, people are bind to key in. I will recommend incentives, to make it attractive and compelling for investors”, he said’ citing what the government did in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and the successes inherent as practical example.

Fielding questions, the expert however argued against campaigns that illegal refineries usually being destroyed by security agencies when discovered should be converted to modular ones and upgraded where possible instead, stressing that operation of such refineries remained criminal activities. “I think it is more of a security issue”, he submitted.

He also partly blamed the delay in passage of the Petroleum industry Bill (PIB) on the high rate of turnover of federal lawmakers every four years, leaving room for fresh hands to start the process all over. “On each of the journeys (of the Bill), there were different stories, and it was mainly political reason in the last effort. We understand that the executive team is working on the bill now”, he said, adding that hopes are high that it gets to the parliament early enough for consideration.

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