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Nigeria Approves New Petroleum Bill After 20-Year Delay

Nigeria's House of Representatives voted on Friday to approve a new petroleum industry bill in Africa's top oil producer and exporter, putting an end to 20 years of debates and delays.

The House voted in favor of the bill on Friday, after the Senate had endorsed the new legislation on Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

The new petroleum bill is aimed at attracting more foreign capital to the country's oil sector, Nigeria says.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been two decades in the making to overhaul the way Nigeria will share its oil resources with international oil companies and aim to attract new investment in oil and gas.

International oil majors have not been flocking to Nigerian oil assets now that fossil fuels are even more fiercely competing for Big Oil's capital plans as majors start shifting more funding to low-carbon energy sources.

Oil firms operating in Nigeria, including Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies, have received some concessions in the latest version of the bill compared to a previous draft from last year, according to Bloomberg.

Nigeria has agreed to reduce the taxes and royalties and exempted deep offshore oil and gas production from the so-called "hydrocarbons tax."

Nigerian lawmakers now passed the bill, despite some last-minute debates regarding two provisions the Senate had added in recent days. One of them included giving refiners licenses to import crude linked to their refining capacity. This could basically give Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote a near-monopoly in fuel import licenses because the refinery his Dangote Group is currently building will have a massive capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The other debatable last-minute provision concerns exploration in northern Nigeria. The bill is creating a fund to back so-called 'frontier' exploration for oil in the northern part of the country. Community leaders in the south, however, think that the financial parameters for exploration in the north are high.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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