Poised to ensure bitumen that is used for road construction in the country is of high quality and the supply is streamlined, the National Petroleum Authority has paid a working visit to the Societe Multinationale de Bitumes (SMB) refinery in Cote d’Ivoire.
Ghana imports its bitumen from SMB, which produces, stores and trades about 47 percent of the total bitumen consumed on the continent.
Over the years, SMB has held strategic partnerships with Total International and Vivo Energy through importation of bitumen to the Ghana Market – and currently with Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) through a partnership to construct a 6,000 metric tonne bitumen processing plant in Tema.
Currently, the bitumen market is not regulated. To streamline the operations of bitumen marketers and enable the NPA to commence the process of regulating bitumen consumption, a committee was constituted in 2017
The Chief Executive of NPA, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, during the visit to SMB said the draft licencing framework and operational guidelines for efficient regulation of the bitumen industry in Ghana have been developed.
He stated the visit was to experience at first-hand and understand operations of the bitumen industry from the refinery all the way to the utilisation; as well as view in operation best quality assurance practices before adopting them to be implemented for use by bitumen facilities in Ghana.
The NPA boss expressed his appreciation to the newly appointed SMB Director General, Mrs. Josephine Marie Sidebe, and emphasised that: “Besides the learning experience, the visit in the long run will be beneficial to both countries by strengthening business ties between the two organiSations”.
Dr. Abdul-Hamid also highlighted that lessons from the visit will enable the downstream regulator to finalise all existing draft frameworks and guidelines necessary for mainstreaming the bitumen industry in Ghana.
Mrs. Sidebe on her part assured Ghana of supplying the best quality bitumen for our road constructions, adding that: “SMB meets the 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 standards, we will produce for you. So, we can produce to both American and European specifications,” she added.