Eneh, who is Oildata Group Executive Officer and former President, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) , said the suspension of public hearing on the bill by the Senate, is to make the PIB robust and encompassing to benefit all stakeholders. With the suspension, more talks would be held on it before hearing resumes, and I believe it will come out a better Act and more beneficial.
He said the suspension of the hearing on the PIB does not mean that the lawmakers do not have zeal to pass the bill, stressing that the PIB is necessary and everybody recognises it. “What is happening is that democracy works when there is communication. Senate stepped it down for people to do a little bit more of talking on it. I think there is greater alignment across the industry today for the fact that PIB wouldn’t be considered as one omnibus bill, but taken into realistic chunks that will allow it to move forward. I think there is a consensus for people to move forward.
“This is important because we have to appreciate that today, we are dealing with oil prices at $40 per barrel compared to $100 per barrel a few years ago. So the reality of today is now dawning on people. Therefore, in looking at the PIB, you have to look at it vis-à-vis the current realities and I think that is the cause of the delay in passage of the bill.”
On low oil price, low production and renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region, Eneh urged the government to diversify the productive sectors of the economy, engage in aggressive exploration for discovery of new oil fields and seek ways to develop the region, saying the impact of low oil price is being felt so much by Nigeria because of its over-dependence on oil revenues. He said if the activities of people in various sectors are well coordinated, revenues from non-oil activities would be able to sustain the nation.
“If the activities of people and cluster development are coordinated, the country will certainly move away from over-dependence on oil revenues. Manufacturing, agriculture and trade constitute over 60 per cent of our GDP. We can leverage expertise in the oil industry to be able to push through regional development, industrial parks and free trade zones developments that are emerging across the country in a coordinated manner.
He said within the oil industry, secondary processing is important, stating that the Niger Delta energy corridor is a concept that is targeted to transform the Niger Delta into a secondary processing zone, where oil is not simply extracted and evacuated from the country, but that it should go through levels of processing.
The energy corridor will capture over 40 per cent of crude oil value locally. When this project is actualised, the militancy in the Niger Delta will drastically reduce, he said.
“The oil exploration has to be continuous because we are taking something out of the ground without replacing it. Therefore, the day we start to cut down exploration is the day our reserves will be limited and at some time, we will start to have a decline in our production. If that decline is not today, it will come in future, he said, adding that this is the best time to do exploration. When the oil price is low and prices of services are low. Therefore, this is the time to encourage exploration.