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Nigeria To Start Oil Reforms Before New Industry Law

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Nigeria will start reforming its oil industry using existing laws before it can pass a long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which will take a while to fine-tine, the new head of the state-oil company NNPC said on Tuesday.

Emmanuel Kachikwu, a former Exxon executive was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari last month with a brief to root out corruption at the state oil firm. He has started restructuring the NNPC and will review all production-sharing contracts.

“Because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it is only natural to kick start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law,” Kachikwu said in a statement.

It has taken more than five years to bring the bill, which is expected to reform Africa’s top producer’s oil taxes and licences and overhaul the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to a vote due to political wrangling.

Kachikwu said the current bill, pending before lawmakers, would need to be fine-tuned to address all the issues such as cost especially after crude prices have declined to their lowest since early 2009.

“Sometimes people don’t realise that the problem hasn’t been NNPC, it is a problem of political will to … implement the outcome of research and reports that have been done,” he said.

“This time around … the President has strong political will to see this through.”

Earlier President Buhari approved the cancellation of controversial offshore processing and crude swap deals for refined oil products between state-oil firm NNPC and oil traders.