The bill sponsor said the proposed Bitumen Development Commission would promote the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
The Senate has passed for a second reading, a bill seeking the creation of the Bitumen Development Commission.
The bill, titled, “A Bill for an Act to Establish the Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria and Provide a legal framework for the Promotion of Research, study, investment, exploration, production, exportation; Development and utilisation of locally sourced Bitumen in Nigeria was read for the first time on the 20th July 2023.
The bill also seeks official regulation of bitumen exploration, development, and exportation.
The sponsor of the bill Senator Jimoh Ibrahim (APC, Ondo South) in his lead debate, said if passed, the Bill will provide clarity on the regulatory functions of the Bitumen Development Commission of Nigeria in ensuring that Bitumen Development in Nigeria to conform with international best practices.
Jimoh noted that the only way for Nigeria to be a beneficiary is to establish a commission to become one of five countries in the world that currently explore Bitumen.
“You may wish to know that the global in-place Bitumen and heavy oil resources are estimated to be 5.9 trillion barrels (938 billion m3), more than 80% of these resources are found in Canada, USA, Venezuela, and Nigeria.”
He added that the bill will also ensure to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors.
In order to create an innovative and resource-based strategy in the development of Bitumen in Nigeria, the lawmaker noted that it will ensure the effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserves of Bitumen in Nigeria.
He assured that the bill would promote the economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
The bill was consequently referred to the Committee on Solid Minerals for further legislative actions and is expected to report back to the Senate in one month.