Shell Nigeria investment on hold pending reform
With elections due by next April at the latest, the new administration has little time to push the bill through, but Sunmonu voiced optimism that differences could be overcome.
"The present government is determined to pass the PIB... I know the minister is planning to have a meeting with captains of industry to further consult with us on how to close the gap."
Sunmonu also said he had brought to the oil ministry's attention the need to renew onshore licences which lapsed under the previous administration, saying government had pledged to "dispose of all these legacy issues as quickly as possible."
NO COMPARISON TO U.S. GULF
Sunmonu said security in the Niger Delta, where three years of militant attacks since early 2006 have prevented Nigeria from pumping much above two thirds of its 3 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity, had greatly improved since an amnesty last year.
But he said bunkering -- the theft of industrial quantities of crude oil -- had increased.
"I think there is an increase in the level of bunkering in the last few months, there is an upward swing. I always use an estimate of about 100,000 bpd and I don't think that would be too off the mark," he said.
Although only a portion of that stolen oil is spilled, it is around twice the level leaking into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, according to a team of U.S. scientists, who on Tuesday raised their high-end estimate to between 35,000 and 60,000 bpd.
The Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, has suffered decades of pollution from spills which have been left to fester, damaging the air, soil and water. Continued...