NPA to regulate bitumen supply chain to ensure quality and efficiency

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), Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) and 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 Goil Good Energy and Societe’ Multinationale de Bitimumes (SMB) of Cote d’Ivoire.

The facility has 7,500 metric tonnes installed capacity and 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 plant’s official inauguration – possibly by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Ivorian counterpart Mr. Alassane Ouattara this year.

Per the law establishing the NPA, it is mandated to regulate all petroleum products – including bitumen, which is mainly used for road construction.

Dr. Abdul-Hamid affirmed the NPA’s commitment to streamlining the bitumen supply chain to ensure compliance with industry standards.

Giving details of the NPA’s actions, Head of Planning-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 will engage the GHA, GSA, Customs Division of GRA and players in the bitumen supply chain to finalise the framework for regulating the sector.

He said all players in the bitumen supply chain will be licenced 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 NPA’s move to regulate the bitumen supply value chain, as it will ensure a 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; Director of Policy Coordination, Dr. Sheila Addo; Head of Quality Control, Mr. Ubeidalah Kutia Saeed; and Executive Assistant to the CE, Mr. Faisal Ibrahim Cisse.