The head of Nigeria’s state oil company expressed confidence that the nation’s long-delayed oil and gas industry reforms will be passed by Parliament.
The Petroleum Industry Bill, legislation that has been two decades in the making, seeks to overhaul the laws that govern the West African nation’s oil industry, reforming how it’s operated and funded. The legal framework hasn’t kept up with the country’s needs, Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said in a webinar on Monday.
“This process has been ongoing since 1999 and I’m very positive that this will be brought to closure very soon,” Kyari said. “I’m optimistic that through policy engagement and collaboration between the executive, legislature and stakeholders, this law will be passed.”
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is trying to end a decade of regulatory uncertainty that Kyari said on Sept. 22 is hurting the industry’s growth. Previous reform efforts were unsuccessful, hindered either by political or economic disagreements involving the government, lawmakers and oil companies. Passing the bill, which was sent to parliament last month, is a key test for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, following his re-election last year.
“As an insider in this process, there is complete alignment between the legislature and executive, and other stakeholders who are relevant to this process, so that ultimately we can put this reform on the table,” Kyari said.