ABUJA Feb 19 Nigeria's long-delayed oil bill,
which could unlock billions of dollars of investment, may never
become law, the head of the country's biggest oil company said
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) being debated in
parliament would change everything from tax levels for foreign
oil majors like Shell and Exxon, to the
structure of the state energy company.
It has been in the works for five years but government,
lawmakers and oil companies have been unable to agree on the
much-needed changes to Africa's biggest energy business.
"I find it difficult to see how we will end up with a PIB by
the end of this year," Oando Chief Executive Wale
Tinubu told an industry conference in Abuja, adding that further
delays because of national elections in 2015 could derail the
A senior Nigerian lawmaker, who asked not to be named, told
Reuters this week that the PIB would need to be overhauled
before the national assembly would consider passing it.
An earlier draft failed to make it through parliament.
Tinubu highlighted the restructuring of state oil company
NNPC and new higher tax rates for offshore drilling as two areas
where oil companies and the government remain divided.
Heavily indebted NNPC, found by several audits and reports
to be rife with corruption, has struggled to meet its share of
investment in joint ventures with overseas companies. This has
proved another drag on attempts to boost Nigerian oil production
of 2 million barrel a day.
The PIB would restructure NNPC and partially privatise the
company, but some industry experts have said that it does not go
far enough in making the company independent from political
The bill also includes plans to increase the taxes oil
majors pay on deep offshore fields, but companies such as Shell
, Exxon and Chevron have said that this
would prevent them from investing offshore.