Senate passes amended Production Sharing Contract Bill

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan

The Senate, in a bid to shore up Nigeria’s revenue earning, on Tuesday passed the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2004(amendment) Bill 2019.

Tuesday’s passing of the bill also coincided with President Buhari’s transmission of a bill seeking the amendment of the Act.

Senate passed the bill which was sponsored by Senators Albert Bassey and Ifeanyi Ubah, after consideration report of its Joint committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Gas and Finance.

President of the Senate Dr. Ahmad Lawan, believes that with the passage of the bill, it is estimated that Nigeria stands to benefit about N400 billion being revenue due to the federal government from International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.

The Senate, during the clause-by-clause consideration of the committee’s report, however amended clause 17 of the Act, which recommended 10 years for a future review of the law.

And Chairman of the Committee, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, explained that, “It takes about five years for an investor to take a Final Investment Decision oil investment (FID). So the NNPC and others are saying for you to review the law, you must give them a stable law; something they can project on,” Akpan said.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun, however prevailed on his colleagues and moved a motion for an amendment of clause 17 to specify eight years as the timeline for the review of the Production sharing Contracts.

The motion was seconded by Senator Kabiru Gaya and thereafter adopted by the upper chamber when put to a voice vote by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

In his remarks, President of the Senate said the National Assembly made history with the passage of the Bill for an amendment of Production sharing Contracts Act.

“We have done what could not be done since 2003 to date. Today marks a milestone in the history of the Senate, and particularly the National Assembly.

“With the passage of this bill, Nigeria will gain at least $1.5 billion in 2020 as a result of this amendment. The Senate will do more.

“I must commend President Buhari, who mentioned the need to amend this bill in his speech when he presented the 2020 budget to the National Assembly last week, and of course, we also received an executive communication from him.”

Senator Lawan emphasised that the amendment of the Production Sharing Contract Act will create a level playing ground for the government and International Oil Companies doing business in Nigeria.

“For the IOCs doing business in Nigeria, the amendment will not in anyway discourage investment. We expect that they will continue to do business in Nigeria”.

“When we legislate at the National Assembly, we will always be mindful of the need to have a competitive environment.

“When we work on the Petroleum Industry Bill, maybe in January, we will ensure that it is a win-win situation for Nigerians and those doing business in the oil and gas industry,” Lawan added.