Nigeria’s proposed wide ranging oil and gas industry reform bill, the Petroleum Industry Bill (“PIB”), has failed to secure the approval of the National Assembly since 2008. The bill which seeks to reform government institutions, change the fiscal framework,and institute domestic gas reforms amongst other objectives has stalled at the National Assembly due to a wide range of disputes over its terms and mechanisms. According to Austin Avuru, the Managing Director of Seplat, one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil and gas companies, the delay in passing the PIB has contributed considerably to reduced investments into the sector.
The fall in investments will have a long term negative impact on Nigeria’s oil and gas industry with a reduction in government revenues, loss of jobs and the damaging effects associated with a failure to replace reserves. In spite of these apparent consequences, the new government is yet to enunciate its proposals with respect to the PIB, its passage and proposed timelines. Indeed, the Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume has stated that the passage of the PIB is not currently a priority of this Senate. In any case, we believe that the new government will seek to make changes to certain aspects of the bill including fiscal & institutional reforms.