By Palma Ileye
Director General Nigeria Mining Cadastral Office, NMCO, Engr Simon Obadiah Nkom has said that Nigeria spent $13 million on bitumen importaton in 2020.
Nkom made this known at a round table at the just concluded three -day Nigeria-Africa Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit, NAFNIS, in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria was blessed with 42.74 billion metric tonnes of bitumen reserve yet untapped, located in Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States.
He said currently the global market for bitumen was $42 billion, but that the market could increase to $66 billion by 2027 due to its high demand.
“This shows that there will be rise in the value of bitumen market by 2027 which is why Nigeria should look into bitumen exploration that will bring development to the country.
“Nigeria can conserve its foreign exchange when it starts exploration on the mineral and this will bring a boost to our economy.
Nkom stressed that Nigeria was ranked 6th in global bitumen deposit as demand for the mineral in Nigeria is high due to high road construction.
“Nigeria has more than 160, 000 kilometres of roads to be tarred while only 60,000 are already tarred,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Cyril Azobu, the Partner/Mining Leader, PriceWaterhouseCooper said “Nigeria is endowed with a good quality of untapped bitumen.
“Bitumen is a big demand all over the world, Nigeria can serve as a hub for local supply of bitumen or asphalt for export in sub-Saharan to other countries,” he said.
“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, issued a letter of award on November 11, 2021, to PwC to act as its Transaction Advisor and Programme Manager for the concession of the bitumen block to potential investors.
“Programmes had been lined up for the successful take for bitumen concession to the right investors, noting that hopefully it will be concluded before the end of this year.”
He added that the ministry in collaboration with PwC will embark on a sensitisation workshop and an investor conference will be held soon to ensure judicious exploitation of the nation’s bitumen deposits.
After repeatedly failing in the past to harness its bitumen reserves, the government in April announced it would grant concessions of bitumen blocks to prospective local and international companies in a bid to end the importation of the mineral deposit in the country.
It consequently appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers as its transaction advisor in November 2021.
Meanwhile, the total value of capital importation into Nigeria in Q1 2022 stood at US$1,573.14 million from US$2,187.63 million in the preceding quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.
In the its newly released data on Thursday, NBS said the figure shows a decrease of 28.09 per cent compared to last year.
When compared to the corresponding quarter of 2021, capital importation decreased by 17.46 per cent from US$1,905.89 million.
The bureau statistics showed that the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through Portfolio Investment, which accounted for 60.87 per cent ($957.58 million). This was followed by Other Investment with 29.28 per cent (US$460.59 million) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) accounted for 9.85 per cent ($154.97 million) of total capital imported in Q1 2022.