‘Deregulation Will Reduce Corruption In Oil Industry’

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Members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) , a group comprising 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Forte Oil Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited and Total Nigeria Plc, have said current efforts to deregulate the oil and gas sector will considerably reduce corruption in the sector.

Speaking on the last day of a webinar series organised by the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, Chairman of the association, Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, noted that historically, the industry’s operations had been opaque and called for self-regulation by stakeholders even when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) becomes operational.

He advocated a strong regulatory framework which promptly sanctions defaulters , including those who breach anti-competition and anti-trust laws, saying that cases of sleaze will always arise when monitoring and compliance is not taken seriously.

“Under a regulated environment, maybe there’s only one person supplying, then you find that someone is sitting somewhere and allocating products to everybody. Apart from smuggling, this corruption is part of the reasons we have long advocated deregulation of the industry.

“Self-regulation is the best form of regulation and fills the gap in the industry’s non-adherence to international standards and best practices aimed at ensuring safety in the sector and building self- confidence and trust in the industry.

“So, over and beyond what is prescribed by the PIB, players themselves should regulate themselves. There has to be a charter, setting the dos and dont’s for operators and members in terms of HSE, corporate governance, excellence in service and penalties for erring members who do not adhere to these guidelines,” he argued.

On monitoring by the regulators, he said: “There must be periodic visits to terminals, retail outlets and other facilities to assess standards of operations and safety.

“There should be periodic testing of products to ensure adherence with agreed specifications as we move to this fully legislative regulatory environment that we are going into.

“The regulator in the new PIB in the downstream, a lot of what they should be doing is collaboration and consulting with the industry to ensure that the rules set for the industry are apt and appropriate and they have a buy-in and input of all stakeholders.

“A lot of what they should be doing is intervening if anti-competition and anti-trust rules are broken by the industry.”

He stated that the industry must now begin to take the complaints of Nigerians very seriously because many of the issues would not arise if there was self-censorship.

“People do not understand how prices are arrived at and this is a product that they really do not have any choice but to buy. I am never very happy because the complaint is that the prices go up too quickly and when they are supposed to go down, they don’t go down fast enough.

“So, there’s the need for self-discipline and self-regulation which is very imperative in terms of ways of operation. Throughout history, the Nigerian petroleum industry has always been very vulnerable to corruption, sharp practices.

“And definitely while regulation can do something about that , from the perspective of regulation, what you do as members is all very critical,” Adetunji advised.

Earlier, speaking on a separate theme, ChairMembers of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) , a group comprising 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Forte Oil Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited and Total Nigeria Plc, have said current efforts to deregulate the oil and gas sector will considerably reduce corruption in the sector.

Speaking on the last day of a webinar series organised by the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, Chairman of the association, Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, noted that historically, the industry’s operations had been opaque and called for self-regulation by stakeholders even when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) becomes operational.

He advocated a strong regulatory framework which promptly sanctions defaulters , including those who breach anti-competition and anti-trust laws, saying that cases of sleaze will always arise when monitoring and compliance is not taken seriously.

“Under a regulated environment, maybe there’s only one person supplying, then you find that someone is sitting somewhere and allocating products to everybody. Apart from smuggling, this corruption is part of the reasons we have long advocated deregulation of the industry.

“Self-regulation is the best form of regulation and fills the gap in the industry’s non-adherence to international standards and best practices aimed at ensuring safety in the sector and building self- confidence and trust in the industry.

“So, over and beyond what is prescribed by the PIB, players themselves should regulate themselves. There has to be a charter, setting the dos and dont’s for operators and members in terms of HSE, corporate governance, excellence in service and penalties for erring members who do not adhere to these guidelines,” he argued.

– Thisday

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