Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel, Ibe Kachikwu, said that the country has reached a $5b outline settlement with five oil majors to cover outstanding payments for joint exploration and production. This settlement related to State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accumulated unpaid bills, cash calls over the period from 2010 to 2015, Reuters reported.

Kachikwu said that Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Italy’s ENI, Chevron and France’s Total had “accepted” the $5b deal that is expected to finalize by the end of 2016. Furthermore, the payments would be made in the form of new oil production until 2022, informed Vanguard. It is reported that the international oil companies (IOC)¬†have already signed the deal, which is still subject to the approval of two regulatory agencies as well as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, while they also seek to forge new financing arrangements for their joint ventures in Nigeria.

Although NNPC had repeatedly questioned the amounts owed. The company approached the settlement in an attempt to resolve the ongoing dispute as the delay in payments has hindered oil and gas investment in Nigeria and worsened a budget crisis as the government seeks to increase spending in a push to revive the economy. Additionally, the settlement also addressed the $1b billion debt the oil companies claimed was due from NNPC for costs incurred during 2016 in the joint ventures.