The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is developing a framework to regulate the importation, storage, processing and marketing of bitumen in the country.
The framework, which will have inputs from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), is to streamline the bitumen supply chain and ensure compliance with quality standards specifications.
The NPA Chief Executive, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, and management members of the Authority made this known on Wednesday during an inspection tour of a bitumen storage and production plant at Tema jointly owned by one of the Ghanaian oil giants and Societe’ Multinationale de Bitimumes (SMB) of Cote d’Ivoire.
The facility with 7,500 metric tonnes installed capacity takes delivery of bitumen from Cote d’Ivoire. One component of the facility produces polymer-modified bitumen and bitumen emulsions, which are combinations of bitumen and some chemicals.
Operations started in September 2022, and arrangements are underway for the official commissioning of the plant, possibly by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Ivorian counterpart Mr. Alassane Ouattara this year.
Per the law establishing the NPA, it has the mandate to regulate all petroleum products, including bitumen, which is mainly used for road construction.
Dr Abdul-Hamid affirmed the commitment of the NPA to streamline the bitumen supply chain to ensure compliance with industry standards.
Giving details of the NPA’s actions, the Head of Planning of NPA, Mr. Dominic Aboagye indicated that the NPA constituted a committee a couple of years ago to look at the entire bitumen supply chain to see how to streamline the sector.
Consequently, he said, the Authority engaged players in the bitumen value chain to understand their operations, and it turned out that much of the supply was from Cote d’Ivoire.
With that information, a team from the NPA led by Dr. Abdul-Hamid visited Cote d’Ivoire in 2021 to study the operations of Societe’ Multinationale de Bitimumes (SMB), the main exporter of bitumen to Ghana.
Mr. Aboagye said the NPA committee had since been developing the framework, and indicated that the Authority would engage the GHA, the GSA, the Customs Division of GRA, and players in the bitumen supply chain to finalize the framework to regulate the sector.
He said all players in the bitumen supply chain would be licensed by the NPA to streamline their operations.
In their presentations, the Group CEO of Goil Company Limited, Mr. Kwame Osei Prempeh said the plant had been selling the bitumen, polymer-modified bitumen, and bitumen emulsions on demand for road construction.
He welcomed the move by the NPA to regulate the bitumen supply value chain as it would ensure the supply of quality products in the country.
The NPA team that participated in the tour included the Director of Economic Regulation and Planning, Mrs. Alpha Welbeck, and the Director of Policy Coordination, Dr. Sheila Addo, the Head of Quality, Control, Mr. Ubeidalah Kutia Saeed, and the Executive Assistant to the CE, Mr. Faisal Ibrahim Cisse.