The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday assured the marketers and distributors of bitumen as well as members of the public that the days of bitumen importation will soon be over. This is as a result of the current plan to gear up the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC) for optimum production of the product, to save the nation the huge foreign exchange spent on the importation of the product.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, quoted the Management of the Corporation, in a reaction to a story attributed to the Association of Bitumen Marketers and Distributors published in some national dailies recently, to have disclosed that plans are currently on to repair the “Riser” at the heavy crude oil reception facility at Escravos. This will guarantee the importation of heavy crude for the production of bitumen at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), which is the only refinery configured to produce bitumen in the country. The management further stated that in the meantime, KRPC has about 5,005 metric tons of bitumen (also known as asphalt) for evacuation,
and that a further 14,466 metric tons will be produced between now and September from available residue. The NNPC explained that the KRPC has the capacity to produce 1,796 metric tons of asphalt per day or 592,680 metric tons per year of two major liquid and solid oxidized grades of bitumen while the current national demand is put at about 500,000 metric tons per year.
It noted that as soon as the “Riser” is repaired and the supply of heavy crude oil is guaranteed, there will be no need for further importation of bitumen.