Petroleum Industry Bill by end December 2010

Nigeria’s parliament may pass a Petroleum Industry Bill before the end of December, paving the way for a new exploration licensing round, the country’s presidential advisor on energy Emmanuel Egbogah said on Monday. “It is likely to be passed by the year end,” Egbogah told Reuters in New Delhi where he is attending an energy conference. Egbogah said once the legislation is approved, Nigeria would launch its next oil exploration licensing round in first half of 2011. Nigeria says the bill will make state oil firm NNPC more transparent, encourage investment, promote local oil company involvement in the industry and increase gas supplies to the dilapidated domestic power sector.

But international oil companies are worried the bill will impose higher taxes and royalties while failing to address key issues of under-funding, corruption and security. The bill has been repeatedly delayed by revisions and disagreement. But on Monday, Egbogah said all the terms relating to the bills have been finalised. He also said Nigeria is currently producing 2.6-2.7 million barrels of oil per day versus an output capacity of 3.6 million bpd. Crude oil supplies from OPEC countries, which together produce over a third of global oil supplies, rose in October because of higher supply from Angola and smaller increases from other members, reducing adherence to agreed output targets, a Reuters survey showed on Friday. When asked about China’s bid to lock in oil reserves in Nigeria, Egbogah said “discussions have not progressed.”