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Ghana learns from Cote D’Ivoire as it finalises draft to streamline the bitumen industry

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has paid a working visit to the Societe Multinationale de Bitumes (SMB) refinery in Cote D’Ivoire to tap into the experiences of the company, as the government finalises a draft for the regulation of the Bitumen industry in Ghana.

The streamlining of the sector through the draft is to support the government’s quest to ensure that bitumen, which is used in road construction in Ghana, is of high quality, while the supply system is made efficient.

It could be recalled that a Committee was constituted in 2017 to help streamline of the operations of bitumen marketers and enable the NPA to commence the process of regulating bitumen consumption.

Currently, the country imports its bitumen from SMB, which produces, stores and trades about 47% of the total bitumen consumed on the continent.

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 experience first-hand and understand the operations of the bitumen industry from the refinery all the way to the utilization; as well as adopt the best quality assurance practices to be implemented for use by bitumen facilities in Ghana.

He expressed appreciation to the newly appointed SMB Director-General, Mrs Josephine Marie Sidebe, and emphasised that “besides the learning experience, the visit in a long run would be beneficial to both countries in strengthening the business ties between the two organizations.”

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.

For her part, Mrs Sidebe assured Ghana of supplying the best quality of bitumen for the country’s road constructions, adding that, “SMB meets requirements of every country on the continent,” noting that it was unfortunate that most of the countries have different specifications.

For Ghana, it’s about your requirements. If you require the American standard, we will produce for you. So, we can produce both American and European specifications” she added.

Over the years, SMB has held strategic partnerships with Total International and Vivo Energy through the importation of bitumen to the Ghana Market.

Currently, SMB with Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) through a partnership to construct a 6,000 metric tonnes of bitumen processing plant at Tema.

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