The federal government of Nigeria has announced a plan to ban importation of barites used by the Nigerian oil and gas industry in 2022.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote, made the announcement recently during the official launching of made in Nigerian barites in Port Harcourt, River State.

The made in Nigerian barites which is said to have met specifications for use in the oil and gas industry, especially in drilling operations was jointly launched by the NCDMB and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

Engr. Wabote appreciated the alignment of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in supporting the attainment of the aspirations of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.

He noted that the utilization of locally produced barites and drilling fluids in the Nigerian oil and gas industry was in line with the federal government’s commitments towards maximum optimization of local content and diversification of the country’s economy;  adding that it would create huge value addition and opportunities to drive the sustainable and competitive growth of the Nigerian economy.

The NCDMB boss recalled that the board had issued a guideline in May 2021 where it approved four firms for the supply of the home-made barites required for any drilling project or contract in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The board according to Engr. Wabote listed 10 other companies that would be upgraded to Category A National Chemical Energy Centre (NCEC), as soon as they meet the requirements of the guideline for the utilization of locally produced barite and drilling fluids in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Engr. Wabote therefore charged the ministry and barite miners to focus on the improvement of the health and safety practices at the mines, optimal barite production in volumes and to the required specification and availability of accurate geological data.

The Executive Secretary further emphasized the need to address host community issues and environmental practices leading to land degradation, provision of adequate infrastructure and logistics, improved access to financing for equipment and working capital and patronage and utilization of Nigerian barites by oil and gas operators and service companies.

According to him, improvements in these areas will positively impact the sustainable development of the Nigerian barite value chain. Thus, he maintained that the board will continue to collaborate and protect investors in the entire value chain of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, adding that first and exclusive consideration will be given to locally produced goods and services in line with the provisions of the NOGICD Act.

Also speaking during the launching ceremony, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, said that the availability of Nigerian made barites would end decades of its importation.

Arc Adegbite affirmed that the barites met the American Petroleum Institute (API) standards, which is the global specification demanded by the oil industry.

The Minister who said that Nigeria was blessed with 47 solid minerals deposited across the country with barites being among the seven strategic minerals designated by the ministry for top priority development noted that barites occur within the Benue trough- Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, Gombe and Cross River and Zamfara in North-western part of the country.

Arc Adegbite further announced that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development would set up a marketplace portal that would connect all stakeholders along the barites value chain to a hub that allows easy coordination, stocking, effective costing and seamless sale of barites. He also said that the ministry would coordinate the process and ensure that appropriate revenues from the process are remitted to the government.

According to him, the launch of made in Nigerian barites would increase Nigeria’s revenue generation through royalty payment and conserve foreign exchange spent previously in importing barites. He added that the development would also create jobs, especially in local communities where barites are mined and processed and earn the country foreign exchange when exported.

By Sunday Elom

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