OBA:Re-engineering Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry Through Legislative Sagacity.

OBA: Re-engineering Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry Through Legislative Sagacity.

-Ekemini Bassey

On Tuesday, 15th October 2019, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria passed its fastest bill in the history of legislation in the country.

Titled, a Bill to Amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act D3 LFN 2004; the bill was subsequently signed into law by President Buhari, and Nigeria reaped about $1.5 billion to fund the 2020 Budget from it’s implementation.

That bill was sponsored by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan ( OBA).

The bill also included an exponential increase of fine from Fifty million Naira or an option of one year imprisonment to Five Hundred million Naira or option of 5 years imprisonment as penalty for violation of the provisions. The legislation further provided for royalty payable to the Federal Government to be reviewed aftereight years instead of 15 years as it were previously.

Senator Albert Bassey’s sterling performance in the National Assembly has been overwhelmingly impressive in Seven Years.

Perhaps the most prominent of his pivotal roles in the oil and gas industry is the land mark resolution of The NNPC/CHEVRON ESCRAVOS gas to liquid deal.

The resolution of cost dispute between NNPC and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) which had lingered on for over ten years and defied solution by previous tenured sessions of the Senate earned Senator Akpan a national award from the Presidency and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

And why not? When the historic resolution of the long disputed NNPC/Chevron Escravos Gas to Liquid deal in favour of Nigeria got billions of dollars into the nation’s economy.

A glance into OBA’s discharge of responsibilities shows days, nights, weeks, months and years of painstaking dedication to providing solutions to a myriad of challenges in the oil and gas sector.

Few days ago, he was the cynosure of all eyes at the unveiling of the Host Communities Development Regulations, Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPLs) and presentation of licences to marginal field Awardees.

At an event held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Senator Akpan promised a continuing effective and efficient oversight of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to ensure that the needs and aspirations of Nigerians are met .

Since sworn in as Senator in 2015, Bassey Albert has chaired two all important committees in the Oil and Gas industry.

In 2015-2019 he served meritoriously as Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas Resources and upon re-election for a 2nd term in 2019, he was appointed chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources , Upstream – where is he is currently serving.

On oversight functions,
OBA has led members of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), to visit the Frontier Oil Exploration Basin in Bauchi State (Gongola Campaign) ; seeking ways to increase Nigeria’s oil and gas revenue.

The Nigerian Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream led by Senator Albert has also played oversight roles on the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority, NNRA and the NNPC.

Some of the motions and bills sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey aimed at re-enginneering the petrodollar Industy include the ‘Gas Flaring Penalty and Prohibition Bill’ passed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Gas Flaring Prohibition and Punishment Bill, is the first legislative attempt since Nigeria’s independence to holistically seek an end to Gas Flaring in Nigeria through legislation.

A motion for all multinational and Nigerian oil and Gas companies to relocate to their operational bases.
To boost development in those areas, enhance the corporate social relationship and reduce the contentious cost of production; ensuring adequate returns to the federation account.

Senator Akpan has also sponsored a motion on urgent need for effective implementation of the Joint Venture Cash Calls obligations by NNPC.

Other bills sponsored by Albert to affect the policy framework of the oil and gas industry positively are: The Industrial Revolution Plan Bill and the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill.

It should be noted that the success achieved by Senator Albert in the oil and gas industry didn’t not come overnight. Right from his first day in the Senate, he seeked the right collaborations, meetings and consultations with top industry stakeholders, echelon and affiliates.

He has met with all MDs and Chairmen of all companies exploring oil in Nigeria at their various headquarters across the world; advocating for better policies to make Nigeria benefit more from oil and gas explorations.

Through these interactions, he has garnered the requisite experience and capacity over the years from consistent interactions with key global industry players.

One laudable trait among Senator Albert’s leadership qualities is the rare ability to deliver on herculean tasks. It must be stated unequivocally that both the Petroleum industry Act(PIA) and the Resolution of the NNPC/Chevron Escravos Gas to liquid disputes had lingered on for decades. Albert’s capacity to resolve age long daunting responsibilities sets him apart as a rare breed administrator.

As he will be leaving the senate in 2023 in his quest to serve his people as Governor; his imprints in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector will remain indelible.

Akwa Ibom State will stand to gain a lot more from this five-star legislator and economist when he is elected Governor of Akwa Ibom state – a land with enormous oil and gas deposits.

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