The country spends millions of dollars importing bitumen yearly, but this could become a thing of the past when a US$35million bitumen plant built by Goil Company Limited comes on-stream at the end of September this year.
The 240-metric tonne per day emulsion and polymer modified bitumen (PMB) plant is expected to have a storage capacity of 6,000 metric tonnes of base bitumen, and is being constructed in partnership with Societe Multinationale de Bitumes (SMB) of Cote d’Ivoire.
“Once we start, we will be able to meet domestic demand; and in the future, as the plant has the potential to be expanded, export the product to be able to earn more foreign exchange (FX),” says Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Goil, Osei Prempeh. The country currently imports bitumen from Cote d’Ivoire and Brazil for road projects.
Goil holds a 60 percent stake in the business, with the remaining 40 percent going to SMB which will supply the raw bitumen material, and is confident that its plant will be able to meet the country’s entire bitumen demand. Included in the facility is a three-kilometre pipeline from the oil jetty at Tema Port to the bitumen plant, to allow for product pumping to the facility.
The plant, when completed, will produce quality AC10, AC 20 bitumen and PMB – the quality of bitumen used for construction of the N1 road in Accra – globally accepted as the most appropriate for road pavements which experience heavy-duty traffic and extreme weather conditions.
Mr. Prempeh said the investment forms part of the company’s diversification strategy, which seeks to expand Goil’s operations beyond retail of petroleum products – a move he is optimistic will help safeguard the long-term future of the state-owned company.
Explaining further, he said: “The major advantage here is that instead of the Ministry of Roads and Highways importing the product, we will bring in the raw material and add value to meet the various grade requirements for road construction”.
Construction work on the plant, which is one of the biggest in the sub-region, kicked off in the middle of 2019. The Group CEO assured that the project is 85 percent complete and will be delivered by the end September 2021 deadline.