A bill for the Establishment of Bitumen Training Institute passed second reading, on Wednesday, on the floor of the Senate.
Presenting his lead debate, Senator representing Ondo South and sponsor of the Bill, Nicholas Tofowomo, said the establishment of Bitumen Institute to be located in Ode Aye, Ondo State would harmonise all the past stride and research made on Bitumen exploration since 1905 and come up with a solid foundation for Economic exploration of Bitumen in Nigeria.
He expressed the hope that enactment of this Bill would help transform the Bitumen potentials as well as fortunes in Nigeria in producing the desired Manpower and expertise to drive the Bitumen Industry just like the Petroleum Training Institute is doing with the petroleum Industry.
Senator Tofowomo who noted that the Bitumen deposit in Ondo south is the second largest deposit in the whole world after Venezuela said harnessing the resources would help to drive the agenda of the present administration to diversify the economy.
He said: “This government has a priority of enhancing economic diversity and the 9th Assembly has keyed into this concept of meaningful development.
Bitumen deposit in Ondo south covers Odigbo, Okitipupa and Irele Local government which is about half of the Senatorial district, its on record that the Bitumen in Ondo south is the second largest deposit in the whole world. Venezuela has the largest deposit and it’s currently the largest in the whole world.
‘Bitumen importation has been significant in Nigeria since the military administration of General Gowon and it has taken a significant effect on our foreign exchange.
Bitumen is used for many things in Nigeria; these include road construction and Housing, etc.
“Many past administrations of Federal Government have played different roles in exploring Bitumen. They include, General Yakubu Gowon (1966 – 1975), President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 1979, 1999 – 2007), General Ibrahim Babangida (1985 – 1993), President Goodluck Jonathan (2010 – 2015) and our President Muhammadu Buhari have shown interest in Bitumen exploration since 2015 but it is not a continuous process because of different difficulties in its exploration.
“Bitumen is one of the richly deposited minerals resources in Nigeria and some Africa countries just like Crude oil, it is found in Ondo, Lagos, Ogun and Edo States.
“Bitumen was discovered at first in 1900 and exploration begins in 1905, Ondo state has a large deposit in Sand/Bitumen and the state government has tried its exploration in the past without any achievement.
“There is environmental degradation caused by spiling of bitumen and would create employment for the people in the region.
“The Bitumen in Nigeria is the largest in Africa, Bitumen is found in massive quantities mainly in the south-western part of Nigeria especially in the Tar sand of Ilubirin, Loda and Agbabu in Ondo State.
Bitumen deposit extends around 120kms approximately.
In Ondo South, the estimated amount of Bitumen available for extraction is about 16billon barrels.
“There are two (2) basic concentrated form of Bitumen in Ondo south, they are Seepages and outcrops of Bitumen Tar sands and lower viscous bitumen.
Nigeria has an approximated estimate Bitumen reserve of 42.74 billion metric tonnes.
Bitumen is easily found naturally in the Tar sand where it can be processed and refined into oil-rich Bitumen. It can be found as refined products where it occurs via crude oil fractional distribution.”