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FG Will Hold Oil Licensing Round This Year- Alison-Madueke

By on December 5, 2012

Petroleum Minister, Diezani Madueke

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has said Nigeria continues to set its sights on holding an oil-licensing round for marginal fields prior to the end of this year.

“We sincerely hope to have a new round this year, for marginal fields,” Alison-Madueke said on the sidelines of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja yesterday, but refused to speak more, reported Reuters.

It is not clear if there would be adequate time to hold tenders before this year runs out irrespective of the fact that the minister in last October said the government planned to hold bid rounds for major and marginal fields before the year is up.

In a bid to reach an agreement on fiscal terms proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Federal Government was in talks with international oil companies (IOCs), local oil, and gas companies. She said.

“There’s always the intent to try and strike a balance, particularly from the side of government,” she said, noting that there “seemed to be such disparity in terms of where we stood on the fiscals.”

Alison-Madueke, who confessed some flaws in the PIB, nevertheless, said that the bill was still open for discussion.

Despite the heated debate the issue has brought she said it would boost exploration activities, which had been limited.

She said the government would continue discussions with the multinationals “because there seems to be disparity in terms of where we stand on the fiscals.”

Continuing, Alison-Madueke noted that the financial modifications in the PIB, if approved, would be the most ample in four decades, recounting the increased government take from oil revenues in the PIB as small and fair, based on oil prices now.

“Nigeria is not alone in the tightening of fiscal terms,” she said. “The goal has always been to find a fair balance between the government and the contractors’ shares.”

“The government is not in the business of oil and gas to make a loss for the country. At the same time, the intent is to remain competitive to attract investment,” Alison-Madueke told delegates at the economic summit.

Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Chukwudi Onyereri who stood in for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal said that the PIB was the most significant bill in the National Assembly, adding that all parts of the bill would be measured carefully on worth.

The public hearing on the bill is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

He said, “If there are things they (multinationals) have to thrash out, let them thrash it out now before it comes out, because when it is passed into law, it does not have any individual opinion anymore. What they should do is to break up all these arguments, and come to the public hearing.”