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Nigeria missing out of $110bn global bitumen market — Senate – Vanguard News

By Henry Umoru

THE Senate has said that Nigeria as a country was  missing out of  the $110billion bitumen global market, just as it stressed that there was the urgent need for the nation to tap into the market.

The Senate disclosed this yesterday during a one day public hearing on a  bill seeking for an Act to Establish  Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria ( Establishment) Bill 2023( SB.07), organized by the Senator Samson Ekong,  PDP Akwa Ibom South led Senate Committee on Solid Minerals.

This is as the various stakeholders in the solid minerals sector , threw their weight behind the  establishment of Bitumen Development Commission.

Speaking yesterday during the Public hearing, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, APC Ondo South ,  lamented that Nigeria which has the highest deposit of bitumen after after Canada and Venezuela, has not tapped into the $110billion global bitumen market due to lack of required galvanization.

According  to him, the $110billion bitumen global market according to him, is currently being controlled by Nine countries in the world , some of which have less quantities of the Natural resources when compared to Nigeria .

Senator Ibrahim who specifically stated that Ondo State has the highest deposit of bitumen in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion, said, “Earnings from bitumen deposit in Nigeria , if   properly harnessed,  can  finance Nigeria’s budget.”

The Senator who noted that the global in- place bitumen and heavy oil resources are estimated to be 5.9 trillion barrels (937 billion m3); more than 80 percent of these resources are found in Canada, the US, Nigeria, Venezuela, said that the  global bitumen market  is valued at USD 107.12 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 146.58 billion by 2030 which presently has  the United States, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland,China, Japan, India, Malaysia, Columbia and  Mexico as key players .

Ibrahim said, ” Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria will lead innovation and improved strategy of finance resource. A good case of the impressive alternative revenue for Nigeria.”

Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman of the Committee, ,Senator Ekong who noted that Nigeria needed  a legal inroad to develop her mineral industry to expand her earning power and contribute greatly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide ample job opportunities, commended the sponsor of the bill for his passion in the development of the solid mineral sector and bringing to the limelight the vast deposits of bitumen in Ondo State and other states like  Edo, Ogun, Akwa Ibom and  Lagos states.

Ekong said, “This Bill is sponsored by my Distinguished brother, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim. It was read for the second time on Thursday 23rd November, 2023, and subsequently referred to my Committee for further legislative work.

“Aware that Public Hearing is a critical stage in the life cycle of any Bill, we have invited experts, policy makers and key players in the mining sector towards ensuring that there is a comprehensive interface, for further legislative action on the Bill.

“The mining industry in Nigeria has understandably, been identified as a key driver of economic diversification, investment, foreign exchange earnings and social inclusion. With its vast potentials, the sector deserves every necessary policy attention and legislative intervention to fast-track its full exploration.

“Nigeria is so richly blessed with mineral resources, buried in the belly of the earth, all around us. Nigeria is reputed to have one of the largest Bitumen reserves in the world, estimated at about 42 billion tonnes. That readily translates to so much wealth for the country. Our duty as a legislature is to provide the necessary legal framework, backed by dependable data, that will drive sustainable inroads into the vast mineral potentials of the country.

“The Bitumen Commission, from its framework, offers a significant launchpad towards harnessing the vast Bitumen deposits in Nigeria. This will in turn, put an end to Bitumen importation, promote local content, drive economic growth, create jobs, increase our GDP, and better the lives of communities and citizens. However, the tide of opinion, whether for or against the establishment of the Commission, will be fully considered in our committee deliberations.”

Some of the Stakeholders in the Sector that spoke were Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; Ondo State Government; Ministry of Solid Minerals; Ministry of Justice; Nigeria  Extractive Industries  Transparency Initiatives, NEITI,  Institute of Mining and Geo- Science,  among others.


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