The Nigerian Government might be willing after all to go back on some of the amendments it made to the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract act.
Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, Mele Kyari, gave the hint during a keynote address at the conference and exhibition organised by the National Association of Petroleum Explorationist.
While delivering his speech, ThisDay quotes Kyari as saying, "Despite the amendments, there is room for negotiations and we hope to conclude these negotiations by mid next year."
The reason for the government’s softening stance is not farfetched.
It intends to issue licenses for the exploration of oil in ultra-deep water depts by 2020.
“As we are all aware, the ultra-deepwater is completely unexplored today.
"Before the end of this year or next year, I believe there will be some form of bid rounds in that space,” Kyari said.
The Oil Producers Trade Section had told the National Assembly that the terms they expressly passed would affect up to $55.5bn and revenue of about $10bn by 2030.
Addressing persons, who would raise the funding to lift Nigeria’s crude oil production to 3m barrels daily by 2323, Kyari admitted that petroleum exploration in the country has over the last 10 years seen little activity due to absence of a clear investment terrain.
He said, “We know clearly that there is decline in exploration and production in our industry today. In the last 10 years, not much has gone into exploration due to two reasons.
"One is that there is some level of clarity that is required for oil and gas investment.
"We know that our attempt to put the appropriate legislation in place since 1999 has not worked. Till date we have not been able to achieve much in that regard.”
Past governments and National Assembly have failed to make the needed reforms to the PSC act, which was first past in 1993 and embedded into the 1999 constitution.
The failure of the ninth assembly to take the input of the exploration companies into consideration, means the exercise between October and early November will have to be revisited.