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Room for talks with oil firms still open – Diezani

Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said, yesterday, that there was still room for compromise in talks between the Nigerian government and multi- national oil companies, as the country  seeks to overhaul its oil industry.

“I think there is room to bridge the gap a little more,” Alison-Madueke told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of OPEC ministers in Vienna.

She said: “Discussions are ongoing. We are hoping that we may be able to reach more of what a lot of the multinationals or the independents consider a win-win situation.

“We will continue those talks over the next few weeks and we hope that we come out with everybody feeling a little better about it.”

After years of delay, President Goodluck Jonathan, in July, sent a new bill to the National Assembly to overhaul the country’s oil industry.

Multinational oil firms have, however, criticised the proposed increases in taxes and royalties, and warned that the new legislation might curb investment.

“We have increased government take which we felt was actually extremely negative and punitive towards the Nigerian government, with the prices of crude going up and the intake to government going down in terms of revenues.

“However the multinationals and the independents obviously feel that it will be extremely punitive towards them in terms of new investments. So, we are still looking at those figures with them,” Madueke said.


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