The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timpre Sylva, Monday blamed the dwindling oil reserves on none passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
He disclosed that in 12 years, between 2007-2019, only 500million barrels of oil were added to the nation’s reserves.
Speaking at a public hearing session organised by the Senate’s Joint Committee on Petroleum ( Upstream) , Finance, Gas and Judiciary on Deep Offshore and Inland Basing Sharing Contract (Amendment) Bill 2019, the Minister noted since 2007, the oil industry lacked required regulations.
The Minister noted that this development has discouraged investments in the sector with attendant stagnation of the nation’s oil reserves at 37.5billion barrels.
Sylva said: “While the oil reserves increased from 22billion barrels in 1999 to 37billion barrels in 2007, only 500million barrels were added to it between 2007 and 2019 due to lack of additional investments arising from none passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“Perhaps as a result of some level of regulations, from 1999 to 2007, we grew our oil reserves from 22billion barrels to 37billion barrels which however got stagnated between then and now (2019) with 37.5billion barrels, meaning that for 12 years, only 500million barrels were added to the reserves .
“The reason for this is very obvious, lack of required regulatory laws for the sector which has been driving away investors.”
Commending the Senate on its move to consider the PIB, the Minister said, “the Public Hearing being held today on Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract ( Amendment ) Bill 2019 by the relevant Senate Committees, will no doubt serve as precursor for consideration and passage of PIB in no distant time.”
In his opening remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, emphasized that the 9th National Assembly will pass the PIB next year.
He said: “Collaborative approach between the executive and the legislature is being considered in getting the PIB passed and assented to, this time around because the bill is highly needed to attract investors into the sector and widen our oil reserve base.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Albert Bassey Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North East), said the need to put in place required legislations on Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) necessitated the motion that gave birth to the bill for a win – win arrangement for all stakeholders.