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Buhari to send oil reform bill to Senate soon


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has signed off on an oil-reform bill after 20 years in the making, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

According to the media report, four sources familiar with the matter said the bill will be formally presented in the Senate as early as next week.

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources had presented the bill to the president last month for his endorsement after it had consulted with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.

Excerpts from the bill seen by Reuters included provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, boost the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups and alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery.

Commercialising gas, particularly for use in local power generation, is a core government priority.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery.

After many years of back and forth to reform the oil industry, the harsh realities from the coronavirus pandemic – low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy – made competition for investment from oil majors tougher.

Buhari officially signed off on the the bill late last week, and his team has already been building support for it in the National Assembly.

The sources, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the assembly has already chosen teams of members who will work most closely on individual portions of the bill.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must approve it before Buhari can sign it into law.

In August while revealing the PIB will be presented to the National Assembly in the next few weeks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said that the executive arm will be requesting the lawmakers to specially reconvene to receive and start deliberations on the bill.

The draft copy of the bill which was prepared by the Petroleum Ministry is a product of series of consultation between the federal government, oil and gas companies and other industry stakeholders.

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