A new draft of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be finalised this week, sources are cited in a Reuters report as saying on Thursday.
According to the report, the 200-page bill, which when passed will unlock billions of dollars of stalled investment into exploration and production, includes plans to privatise in part and list the state oil firm, as well as tax oil company profits at 20 per cent for deep offshore and 50 per cent for shallow or onshore, Reuters reports.
The new PIB, the report further states, will give the oil minister supervisory powers over all institutions in the industry.
Analysts have said the PIB, which has been delayed for years, is key if Africa’s top oil-producing country expects to maintain steady oil production in the coming years. The delay, Reuters reports, have caused uncertainty amongst investors, costing the oil industry billion of dollars in potential investments and the government much needed revenues.
There is no guarantee that the draft will get the stamp of approval from lawmakers when it arrives parliament, Reuters reports, adding that “powerful vested interests” could block or delay the passing of the bill as has happened in the past.
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his full support of the PIB, having picked the task force who drew up the draft.
The new bill also proposes that all institutions and regulatory bodies for upstream and downstream be rolled into one and leaves the oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke with the sole power of picking who gets to run the combined body. For many who already feel the oil minister wields too much power, this added supervisory role, might prove difficult to accept.
Calls for the suspension and often times resignation of the oil minister have grown louder following the release of the fuel subsidy probe report that exposed deep-seeded corrupt practices and a whopping N3 trillion subsidy fraud. Alison-Madueke signed a 20-year oil license in February with U.S. oil giant Exxon on one of Nigeria’s largest oil assets, which produces over 500,000 barrels per day, but the terms were kept private, Reuters reported.
The minister had long argued that the delay of the PIB stood in the way of license renewals like that of Exxon. Alison-Madueke says that with the passage of the PIB, Shell and Chevron, set to receive renewed licenses in June, will get similar contracts.