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Make-or-break time for Nigerian oil

The government's oil reforms, seen initially as positive for the industry, have been high-jacked by the country's legislators and now threaten upstream investment, Martin Quinlan writes

THE ADMINISTRATION of President Umaru Yar'Adua – now headed by acting-president Goodluck Jonathan, following the president's ill-health – came to power three years ago this month with ambitious plans to reform the cumbersome structures of Nigeria's oil industry. The resulting Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), now in the late stages of its journey through the legislature, certainly reforms – but the tax increases it imposes could bring the country's vital deep-water development to a halt. Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil, the three largest operators in Nigeria, have all criticised the PIB's fiscal changes, with Shell – the country's dominant producer for over 50 years – being uncharacteristicall

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