Nigerian politician calls for oil industry reform

Nigeria's oil industry regulatory agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources, may be scrapped soon and replaced with an independent petroleum corporation, says the chairman of the House committee on petroleum, West Idahosa. At a meeting with the management team of state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Idahosa said the new commission would draw its funds directly from federal coffers rather than rely on the oil industry operators it's supposed to monitor.


ABUJA�Nigeria's oil industry regulatory agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), may be scrapped soon and replaced with an independent petroleum corporation, according to the chairman of the House of Representatives' committee on petroleum, West Idahosa.

At a meeting with the management team of state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC), Idahosa said the new commission would draw its funds directly from federal coffers rather than rely on the oil industry operators it's supposed to monitor to carry out its functions. A situation where the DPR depends on oil companies even to get vehicles to go to flow stations, spillage sites, and other oil facilities is not adequate, Idahosa said.

Idahosa, who just returned with some members of the committee from a study tour of the facilities of the national oil corporations of Malaysia and Indonesia, said NNPC should be empowered to get more involved in Nigeria's oil industry.

Like Indonesia, Nigeria should strive to own its LNG plants and build them with indigenous manpower and technology, he said. Nigeria owns a 49% stake in Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Co., Shell Gas BV, 25.6%; Elf Aquitaine SA, 15%; and Agip SPA, 10.4%.

Idahosa said he is confident Nigeria has the required manpower to build and operate its LNG plants, but political interference in the oil industry in the past has been a setback for the industry.

The committee chairman noted that, unlike the situation in Nigeria, refineries in Malaysia and Indonesia are working almost at capacity. He added that Nigeria should follow the example of Malaysia, where 75% of its associated gas is used in the generation of electricity.

Responding to Idahosa's remarks, Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, group managing director of the NNPC, said he is confident that, given the right atmosphere, Nigeria and NNPC could do more in the oil industry. He added that there were hopes that the fourth and fifth trains of the Nigeria LNG project would be manned wholly by Nigerians.

More in LNG