12 September 2011
The Petroleum Industry Bill was first introduced to the National Assembly in 2008. In the ensuing three years there has been much talk of its strategic importance to investment and future revenue for
, but very little consistency on how this will be captured in an omnibus bill. Several versions have come and gone and an attempt to pass a Senate version, which seemed to favour oil companies failed at the end of the last National Assembly in May. Nigeria
Now both the House of Representatives and the Senate have new drafts of the PIB. The House version appears to early readers to be a modest improvement on earlier versions and has the merit of opening with some laudable and understandable objectives. It has also eliminated a great deal of confusing language around a proposed 10%
'shareholding ' for local communities and instead asks a new authority to come up with appropriate regulations within three months.
The Senate version may have reverted closer to earlier drafts from the Presidency and its worth noting the return of the IJV (international joint ventures). This is just one of many existing approaches which were to be eliminated in a new
'privatised ' environment where the national oil company becomes 'just another company ' rather than a necessary appendage to almost all oil operations. The political tussles have been intense - driven mostly by the tensions between interests in the Nigerian oil industry, Ministries, politicians, and international oil companies.