The Nigerian Senate has assigned its Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream, and Gas to investigate the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and its potential impact on the exit of International Oil Companies (IOCs) from Nigeria. This decision came in response to a motion presented by Senator Aniekan Bassey from Akwa Ibom North-East during a recent Senate plenary session.
In his motion, titled “Urgent Need for Enquiry into Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 with Regards to Potential Exit of International Oil Companies from Nigeria: Case of ExxonMobil in Akwa Ibom State,” Senator Bassey expressed concerns about the potential consequences of ExxonMobil’s exit from Akwa Ibom State. These include the loss of jobs, the departure of professionals and service companies, a decrease in revenue, and unfulfilled obligations.
The senator also emphasized that the new company taking over ExxonMobil’s assets and liabilities may lack the capacity to efficiently assume ExxonMobil’s responsibilities in the oil-producing states and host communities. This is particularly relevant in situations requiring clean-up or addressing capital-intensive corporate responsibilities.
Senator Bassey called on the Senate to play an active role in the process, stressing that the matter should not be solely left in the hands of regulatory authorities. He advocated for a comprehensive assessment and analysis of ExxonMobil’s activities in oil-producing states and host communities. The goal is to ensure that the company taking over ExxonMobil’s operations also assumes a significant portion of the previous responsibilities.
Furthermore, Senator Bassey noted that the implementation of the PIA has not yet resulted in a coherent framework for coordinating and managing the vital changes in the petroleum sector, especially concerning the impacted host communities, cities, and states.
The Senate recognized the role of International Oil Companies like Shell PB, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (later merged into ExxonMobil), and Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. These IOCs entered into Joint Venture contracts with the Federal Government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with the responsibilities and proceeds being shared accordingly.
This move by the Senate reflects the growing concerns about the potential implications of IOCs exiting Nigeria and highlights the need for thorough investigation and collaboration among stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition.