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International oil companies operating in Nigeria, notably Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited last week seized the platform provided by the annual Nigeria Oil and Gas international conference and exhibition to underscore the deep schism that still exists between the multinationals exploration and production companies and the state-run Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over aspects of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly.
Things came to a head on Tuesday at the strategic session of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, where representatives of the IOCs gave a frank overview of the proposed petroleum industry reform bill championed by NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The out-going Regional Executive Vice-President of Shell Exploration and Production, Africa, Mrs. Ann Pickard dealt the most devastating blow to perceived collaboration between stakeholders in the industry over the PIB, when she disclosed that despite claims by her friend, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, if provisions of the PIB is passed in its current form, it would make further investments in Nigeria's deepwater uneconomic and result in loss of $50 billion in investment.
However, in a statement put out following Pickard's pronouncements which were echoed by Andrew Fawthrop, the Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria Limited during his …