NPA to strengthen supervision of Bitumen production
The Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid says his outfit is poised to ensure that bitumen used in the construction of roads in the country is of high quality and streamlined.
He said the draft licensing framework and operational guidelines for efficient regulation of the bitumen industry in the country had been developed.
Dr Abdul-Hamid disclosed this during a working visit to the SocieteMultinationale de Bitumes (SMB) refinery in Cote d’Ivoire. He said the visit was to experience at first-hand and understand the operations of the bitumen industry from the refinery to utilisation; as well as adopt best quality assurance practices to be implemented for use by bitumen facilities in the country.
Dr Abdul-Hamid expressed appreciation to the newly appointed SMB Director General, Mrs Josephine Marie Sidebe and emphasised that “besides the learning experience, the visit in a long run would be beneficial to both countries in strengthening the business ties between the two organisations.”
He also highlighted that the lessons from the visit would enable the downstream regulator to finalise all the existing draft frameworks and guidelines necessary for mainstreaming the bitumen industry in the country. MrsSidebe on her part assured Ghana of supplying the best quality of bitumen for road constructions, adding that, “SMB meets requirements of every country on the continent.”
“Unfortunately, most of the countries have different specifications. For Ghana, it’s about your requirements. If you require American standard, we will produce for you. So, we can produce both American and European specifications” she added.
Ghana imports its bitumen from SMB which produces, stores and trades about 47 per cent of the total bitumen consumed on the continent. Over the years, SMB has held strategic partnerships with Total International and Vivo Energy through the importation of bitumen to the Ghanaian Market; and currently with Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) through a partnership to construct a 6,000 metric tonnes bitumen processing plant in Tema.
Currently, the bitumen market is not regulated. To streamline the operations of bitumen marketers and to enable the NPA to commence the process of regulating bitumen consumption, a committee was constituted in 2017.