Feasibility Analysis of Commercial Barite Production in Nassarawa State Nigeria

Eze, Chukwuka Kennedy (2019-06-10)

2019 Petroleum Engineering Master's Theses


Nigeria is blessed with mineral resources but unfortunately many have been poorly exploited. This has resulted to spending huge sums of money to import these minerals rather than taking advantage of available local natural resources. Among such minerals is barite, a mineral in abundance and an important raw material used in the oil and gas industry as a weighting agent in drilling for crude oil. Due to its high specific gravity value, barite helps to counteract pressure from the subsurface formation during drilling. However, most of the barites currently used in Nigeria is imported because the resource has not been produced on a commercial scale to meet demand. Also, some of the locally processed barites have specific gravity lower than the petroleum industry accepted standard because of a lot of impurities associated with the barite ores. The primary objective of this study is to examine the value chain of barite minerals in Nigeria. A detailed analysis of barite resources in Nasarawa State, Nigeria is also presented. Barites in Nasarawa State occur in form of veins with vein depth projected to be 20metres. The inferred resources in the state is 3.2 million metric tons with specific gravity in the range of 3.9 and 4.4, which is within the specifications of the American Petroleum Institute (API) required for drilling operations. An economic analysis was carried out to evaluate the viability of commercial production of barite in Nasarawa State to meet the demands of the oil and gas industry. Historical production from artisanal miners was scaled up to simulate the commercial production of barites in Nasarawa. The annual rig count was used to infer the volume of barite consumed in Nigeria by the oil and gas industry. Projected production along with price, royalty and mineral tax were the input data fed into the economic model. The results of the economic analysis indicated a payback period of about 4years with an Internal Rate of Return of 28% and a Net Present Value of $1.36 million USD using a 10% discount rate. The major finding of this study is that investment in barite exploration and production in Nasarawa State is a wise economic decision.