Nigeria's Senate to investigate "anomalies" in renewal of oil leases

By Camillus Eboh

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's upper house of parliament will investigate anomalies in the renewal of oil leases by the ministry of petroleum, it said on Wednesday.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest crude oil producer and oil sales make up around two-thirds of government revenue. Oil companies must periodically renew their oil block licences to continue extraction or exploration.

The Senate voted for a committee to "report to the Senate the anomalies in the ongoing lease renewal process and identify appropriate measures to correct the said anomalies".

It followed the reading of a motion on the floor of the Senate which stated that "illegal discounts and rebates" had been granted by the ministry.

"The ongoing lease renewal process is capable of denying government revenue in excess of $10 billion as a result of illegal discounts and rebates in the process of lease renewal," the motion stated.

Idang Alibi, director of press at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, declined to comment.

On July 10, Nigerian lawmakers voted to investigate the state oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, over a shortfall in revenue remittances to government coffers.

(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Adrian Croft)

2018-07-18 16:51:27

© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.