President of the Association of Miners and Processors of Barite, AMAPOB, Mr. Stephen Alao has disclosed that Nigeria losses over N5billion worth of foreign exchange annually to the importation of Barite by the oil and gas industry.
Alao who made the disclosure on Thursday at the commencement of Barite laboratory testing in Gboko, stated that the country had enough of high quality Barite to meet local demands and appealed to players in the sector to look inward to help the country conserve its foreign exchange earnings.
He noted that resort to importation of barite had led to loss of jobs, infrastructural deficiencies and a strain on the local mining sector.
The President said, “Today marks another milestone to the realization of a barite sufficiency drive of the government. This day has been slow coming, but it is here, and we rejoice that we are all gathered to witness and establish once and for all, the actual range of the quality of barite obtainable in Nigeria for the nation’s Oil and Gas industry.
“The industry is teamwork and precision-driven, and to play in it, some determined standards apply. Today’s event will bring AMAPOB closer to that goal of becoming a de facto player in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
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“We applaud the tenacity of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, to develop maximally this mineral that is strategic in the exploration and production of oil and gas.
“Since its inception, the Board has collaborated closely with AMAPOB to design a simple but adequate model in conformity with standards, to develop and produce barite sustainably for industry needs.”
On his part, the Assistant Director, Laboratories of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Mr. Jerome Agada who commended the partnership between AMAPOB and NCDMB urged the government to develop policies that would encourage the use of locally sourced barite in the oil and gas industry.