FG courting financiers to develop 42 billion barrels of bitumen reserves

The Federal Government has urged investors to look at developing the nation’s 42 billion barrels of bitumen reserves, which has a $110 billion global market value.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrasaq Garbar, said the nation has the sixth-largest bitumen reserves in the world while addressing potential investors at a virtual clarification session organized by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in partnership with PwC Nigeria.

According to him, the mineral was underutilized for many years, which created a huge opportunity for local Bitumen production in place of the nation’s Bitumen imports.

Although there have been many great successes, there are still many more opportunities for improvement, especially with regard to the bitumen resource, according to Engr. Obadiah Simon, Director-General of Mining Cadastre and Chairman of the Bitumen Committee, who claimed that Nigeria is blessed with many mineral resources that have remained untapped.

Cyril Azobu, the leader of PwC Nigeria’s mining practice, outlined the company’s mandate for the bitumen program and stated that it included ensuring the distinctiveness and peculiarity of the exploration, development, and extraction.

He claims that only appropriately competent local and foreign investors will be selected to carry out bitumen development to a useful extraction level.

He stated that this would be accomplished through a transparent and competitive procurement procedure in accordance with international best industry standards and the Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act of 2007.

He said that local and foreign investors must draft a request for qualifying application and submit it to bitumen.ngsa.gov.ng in order to participate in the seven-month bidding process, which will run from May to November 2022.

He continued that the application is composed of six credentials, including expertise in bitumen testing, refinery capabilities, and bitumen exploration and extraction.

Investors must also follow all required environmental, social, and governance sustainability criteria, he added. They also need to have balance sheets with assets worth more than $25 million, as well as the technical and financial resources to carry out feasibility studies.

Recall that in November 2021, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development hired PwC as Transaction Adviser/Program Manager to manage the decision-making process for bidders to develop Nigeria’s designated Bitumen blocks through a competitive bidding process.

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