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Nigeria: Buhari to Receive Long-Awaited Oil Reform Bill

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The Ministry of Petroleum Resources will soon present a long-awaited oil and gas reform bill to the president aimed at boosting output and attracting foreign investment, three sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.

The reforms, 20 years in the making, are particularly urgent this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy have made competition tougher to attract investment from oil majors.

Fiscal uncertainty has delayed a decision on a multi-billion dollar expansion by Royal Dutch Shell and its partners, while Chevron, Total and ExxonMobil are selling various Nigerian assets.

A spokesman for the Petroleum Ministry, which led the bill’s drafting, did not reply to a request for comment and the president’s office declined to comment.

“We hope that the final bill would be one that would unlock potential investments that Nigeria’s rich resource base truly deserves,” a spokesman for Shell companies in Nigeria said.

A draft summary seen by Reuters included provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties.

One of the sources described even the government’s reduced take of oil revenues, through taxes, royalties and other fees, as “aggressive” compared with other nations.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) partner company, a step to making the state owned oil company more transparent.

The NNPC spokesman, Dr Kennie Obateru in a statement, said by becoming a EITI member, NNPC has joined a group of over 65 extractive companies, among others who commit to observing the EITI’s supporting company expectations.

The new status of NNPC would make it to publicly disclose taxes and payments, among others.

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