Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Bank Anthony Okoroafor has disclosed that Nigeria has lost estimated $10 billion (N1.7 trillion) fresh investments to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Okoroafor revealed this at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) holding in Houston, Texas in the United States (U.S.).
The PETAN boss said Nigeria lost a huge opportunity by not passing the bill when the oil price was high.
Okoroafor gave kudos to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the leadership of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu for supporting the operations of indigenous companies even in the midst of cash crunch.
He said indigenous companies would continue to partner foreign firms owing to the dynamism of the sector, which is ruled by technology and innovations.
Okoroafor frowned at the inability of Nigeria to grow its reserves in the last 10 years which may come back to haunt the country.
According to him: “We lost a very big opportunity by not passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) when oil price was above $100 per barrel. If we had passed the PIB when the price of oil was high, a lot of companies would have sealed more than $10 billion investment into the country.”
“There have to be aggressive exploration activities to identify all our reserves and efforts made to develop them. This neglect is what has brought the downstream sector almost to its knees. We need to be proactive because as at today we are not doing exploration and we are not also developing the wells,”
Okoroafor further revealed that the non-passage of the bill presented a confused system that had no direction.
If you must know, the PIB Act aims to establish the legal and regulatory framework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Nigerian petroleum industry, to establish guidelines for the operation of the upstream and downstream sectors, and for purposes connected with the same.