Nigeria under fire for oil legislation

May 7, 2010 at 10:10 AM
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HOUSTON, May 7 (UPI) -- International oil companies working in Nigeria said they would sue the government in Abuja over a measure that would replace existing oil and natural gas laws.

A petroleum industry bill aims to replace existing oil and gas laws and gives the federal government in Abuja the right to renegotiate contracts between state and international oil companies.

Government sources to the Nigerian newspaper This Day speaking at an energy conference in Texas said President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a review of the pending legislation to allay industry concerns.

"Some of the oil majors have threatened to sue the federal government and we are doing everything possible to ensure that we resolve outstanding issues on the bill with them," the anonymous source told the newspaper.

Jonathan was sworn in Thursday as the country's leader following the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Operators had complained adopting the measure would be like "changing the goal post at the middle of the match," the official added.

The bill is expected to pass with revisions in August. Oil-rich Nigeria is struggling to meet it production potential amid political uncertainty and militant activity in the Niger Delta region.

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