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Nigeria to Increase Share of Offshore Oil Profits, Minister Says

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, plans to increase its share of offshore oil profits because of “prevailing realities” in the industry, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said.

The Petroleum Industry Bill, which was sent to Parliament in July, proposes to boost the government’s share to 73 percent from 61 percent, Alison-Madueke said today in an e-mailed statement from the capital, Abuja.

“The proposed increase of government take to about 73 percent is not only competitive but considerate when we look at the scale of other entities around the world,” she said, citing Norway, Indonesia and Angola as examples. Previous terms introduced in 1993 were based on an oil price of $20 a barrel, and are no longer realistic because “crude prices have been on the upward swing,” she said.

The bill, which seeks to reform the way the oil industry of Africa’s top producer is regulated and funded, was initially introduced to parliament more than three years ago. Lawmakers were unable to pass it before the end of the last legislative session in May 2011.

Energy companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA said in a joint presentation to lawmakers in 2009 that the proposed tax increases would make exploration “uneconomical.” They pump more than 90 percent of the country’s oil through ventures with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

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