September 27, 2010 / 3:48 PM / 9 years ago

Nigerian oil minister sees new oil law in weeks

Oil workers walk through pipe installations on a tanker at Bonga off-shore oil field outside Lagos, October 30, 2007. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Nigeria’s parliament should adopt a new law governing the African nation’s oil industry within “a few, short weeks,” said Nigeria’s oil minister at a Houston energy conference on Monday.

“We expect in a few, short weeks it will be promulgated into law,” said Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s petroleum resources minister, in a speech at Rice University.

Passage of the petroleum industry bill, which promises widespread reforms was expected in late August, but ran aground on the opposition of international oil companies.

The oil bill and a proposal regulating natural gas production are seen as the means for Nigeria to achieve ambitious economic development goals while achieving greater social peace and reducing environmental damage, Alison-Madueke said.

“Peace and calm as we have now found are necessary prerequisites for the development of our oil industry,” she said.

Social strife the Niger Delta, the heart of the oil industry, has already been reduced with an amnesty program for those who have attacked the region’s energy infrastructure.

Nigeria aims to be one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020 while at the same time becoming neutral on carbon output by 2025.

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