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15 Oct 2020

Emmanuel Addeh, Daily Nation (Nigeria)

Nigeria: New bill set to substantially reduce environmental pollution in the oil-producing areas

'New Petroleum Reform Bill to Tackle Oil Pollution in Niger Delta’ 6 October 2020

The 2020 Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that is presently before members of the National Assembly will substantially reduce environmental pollution in the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta when passed into law. Aside a ban on the use of chemicals for upstream petroleum operations, there will now exist an environmental remediation fund to be established by a body to be set up by the federal government into which all oil companies doing business in the region would contribute. Much of the restiveness in the oil-producing communities in the area has always been partly due to the degradation of the rivers and the negative impact it has had on the livelihood of the people who mostly depend on fishing and farming for survival.

…"A fine due under this section shall be paid in the same manner and be subject to the same procedure for the payment of royalties to the government by companies engaged in the production of petroleum. "A fine paid pursuant to this section shall not be eligible for cost recovery or be tax deductible" it stressed. Prior to the commencement of petroleum production, all oil companies are also to install metering equipment conforming to the specifications prescribed on every facility from which natural gas may be flared or vented as the commission or may prescribe.

The bill further proposed that a licensee or lessee who fails or refuses to install metering equipment pursuant to subsection (1) of the section commits an offence under the Act and is liable to a fine as the body to be established may deem fit under a regulation. "The commission or the authority may grant a permit to a licensee or lessee to allow the flaring or venting of natural gas for a specific period - where it is required for facility start-up; or for strategic operational reasons, including testing," it stated.