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PIB: OIL COMPANIES TO MEET GOVERNMENT ON 266 AMENDMENTS

By NBF NEWS

The international oil companies operating in the country are currently studying about 266 amendments so far made by the Federal Government in the Petroleum Industry Bill, and would within a week meet with government officials to determine whether further review is needed in the proposed law.

Complaints by the IOCs that certain provisions in the PIB would not only harm their operations, but would also derail future investment in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, had prompted the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to order a review of the bill.

The Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, informed our correspondent that the Federal Government's decision to listen to the IOCs' complaints was borne out of the need to ensure that the PIB lived up to its original objective as an instrument for holistic development of the country's oil and gas industry.

Amendments to the PIB followed various memorandums submitted by stakeholders, including the international oil companies, after the National Assembly held public hearings on the proposed law.

However, the IOCs had gone a step further by raising the alarm that, if passed in its current form, the PIB would destroy the oil and gas industry, rather than develop it.

The Federal Government responded to the complaints by engaging the IOCs in a series of ongoing talks aimed at addressing the perceived problems.

Egbogah said the IOCs were studying amendments made by the government in the PIB, ahead of the next meeting, where it would be determined whether further review was necessary.

He said, 'I think that the amendments that we have made are quite huge and cover all aspects. Remember that when the bill was submitted to the National Assembly, there were hearings, and when we have public hearings, we invite people to air their views on any issues concerning the bill, and that is what had happened.

'All those issues that were raised, we have gone through them one by one. If there is anything that merits to be changed, we'll do so immediately.