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Total Warns Nigeria Oil Bill Will Hurt Industry

September 21, 2010
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According to the Associated Press, a top official at French oil major Total SA has warned that a proposal to overhaul Nigeria''s oil industry would hobble foreign investment. Guy Maurice, managing director and chief executive of Total''s Nigerian subsidiary, told reporters that his company would respect any regulations put in place by the passage of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill. Analysts say the petroleum bill would sharply reduce the profits of foreign oil companies like Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total, all of whom have subsidiaries operating oil fields in Nigeria. Government officials say the bill would allow more oil money to return to Nigeria''s people. The bill also would require the government-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., which partners with all foreign oil firms, to seek profits like a private business and not rely on government subsidies. The proposed bill drew an angry response from foreign oil companies. Shell, the dominant oil company in the nation, warned the government in June that $40 billion of planned investments for Nigeria could be in jeopardy if the bill becomes a law. The bill, proposed under the tenure of late President Umaru Yar''Adua, has languished in the National Assembly since his May 5 death. President Goodluck Jonathan made initial promises to back the bill after taking office, but hasn''t brought it up again.

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