Ghana’s petroleum downstream regulator, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) says it is poised to ensure that bitumen, which is used in the construction of the road in the country, is of high quality and the supply is streamlined.
In that regard, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), led by its CEO, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, 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 per cent of the total bitumen used on the continent.
Over the years, SMB has held strategic partnerships with Total International and Vivo Energy through the importation of bitumen to the Ghanaian market; and currently with GOIL Company Limited 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 to 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 licensing framework and operational guidelines for efficient regulation of the bitumen industry in Ghana had been developed.
He stated that the visit was to have a first-hand experience and understand the operations of the bitumen industry from the refinery and to the utilization; as well as adopt best quality assurance practices to be implemented for use by bitumen facilities in Ghana.
The NPA’s CEO expressed his appreciation to the newly-appointed SMB Director-General, Mrs Josephine Marie Sidibe, and emphasised that “besides the learning experience, the visit, in the long-run, would be beneficial to both countries in strengthening the business ties between the two organisations.”
Dr Abdul-Hamid also highlighted that the lessons from the visit would enable the downstream regulator to finalise all the 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 of bitumen for its roads constructions, adding that, “SMB meets 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 both American and European specifications,” she added.