PSC Bill Scales second reading in Senate

Sanni Onogu, Abuja


The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act Bill on Tuesday scaled second reading in Senate.

The Bill entitled: “Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract 2004 (amendment) Bill 2019” was sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the Bill to the Senate Committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Gas and Finance for further legislative work and to report back in one week.

Senator Akpan who represents Akwa-Ibom North East, in his lead debate said that the Bill seeks to amend Section 5 of the PSC Act to bring the provisions of that section into conformity with the generality of the provisions of the Act and in congruence with the intendment and essence of Production Sharing Contracts.

“The PSC arrangement was offered by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a contractual arrangement for the exploration and production of petroleum in the 1991 licensing round,” he said.

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He explained that the fiscal incentives from the arrangement are distinct and absent from the provisions of the Petroleum Act and the Petroleum Profit Tax Act which regulates the fiscal regime of other types of petroleum exploration and production arrangements.

He said: “The Act provided in Section 16 that where the price of crude oil exceeds US$20 per barrel, the PSC Act will be reviewed to ensure that the share of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the additional revenue is adjusted to the extent that the PSCs shall be economically beneficial to the FGN and that in any event, the PSC Act shall be liable to be reviewed after 15 years from its commencement in 1993 and every 5 years thereafter.

“This amendment alters the royalty payable by the PSC contractors so that whenever oil and gas price increases the share of government increases with the automatic inception of the newly introduced royalty by price mechanism.”

Also on Tuesday, the Senate called on the Federal Government to give priority attention to the development of the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Research Centre and Museum.

This call followed the consideration of a motion titled: “The need to ensure immediate commencement of the Oil and Gas Research Centre and Museum, Oloibiri, Bayelsa State -Nigeria’s first oil field”, sponsored by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East).

Senator Degi-Eremienyo, in his lead debate, noted that in exhibition of the importance of the first oil field and the need to develop the foreign exchange earning tourism potentials of the area, the idea to build a world class museum of oil and gas was conceptualised, designed and foundation stone laid by President Shehu Shagari in 1953.

He said although that the Federal Government removed the project from the National Commission for Museums and Monuments as awarded and domiciled it with the Petroleum Technology Development Fund in 2011, the project still remains moribund.

The Senate in its resolution, urged the Federal Government to direct the PTDF and its contractors to mobilise to site to commence the construction of the Oil and Gas research Centre and Museum.

It also directed relevant Senate Committees to carry out intensive oversight on the implementation of the project.

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