BusinessDay

FG clarifies bitumen concession bidding process, gives investors guidelines

In a bid to halt the importation of bitumen and diversify the economy, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, collaborating with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), has stepped up efforts to attract investors to the bitumen sector.

This was made known in the PricewaterCooper and Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development Bitumen concession event held virtually.

Also, the FG through the ministry and agency gave guidelines to investors looking to dabble in the sector.

According to the NGSA, it had started a study to collect data in order to learn more about how to make bitumen blocks more appealing and advance their development.

Abdulrazaq A. Garba, Director-General/CEO, NGSA, said that numerous exploration activities had been carried out across the entire Dahomey basin, with recalculated study area of 225 x 19 Km2 stretching from west of Ijebu, Ogun State to Siluko area at the fringes of the western Niger Delta, all within the Cretaceous Abeokuta group.

He said that these cut across four states, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Edo states, with about 16 – 42 billion barrels discovered in Ondo.

The Federal Government has designated the mining industry as one of the critical sectors for rapid growth and development, according to Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

Read also: Across Nigeria, mining sector holds opportunities for investors

He said: “The FG, through the MMSD, intends to competitively tender delineated bitumen blocks in Nigeria to potential investors for the exploration, development, and production of bitumen resources,” he said.

On the other hand, Cyril Azobu, Team lead, Mining Practice, PwC, said that on November 11, 2021, the MMSD issued a letter of award to the company, designating it to serve as the organization’s transaction adviser and program manager for the selection of bids for the development of Nigeria’s defined bitumen blocks.

He said: “The scope of the PwC mandate will ensure that, given uniqueness and peculiarities of the exploration, development, and extraction of Bitumen, only suitably qualified local and international investors with pre-requisite experience.

“Technological expertise and financial capacity are selected to carry-out bitumen development to a meaningful extraction level, over a transparent and competitive procurement process as enshrined in the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act, 2007 and in line with global best industry practices.

“The entire process would be concluded by November 2022,” the team lead said.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, estimated at 42 billion barrels, ranks 6th in bitumen reserves in the world.

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