Nigerian minister urges domestic use of barite

By Siobhan Lismore-Scott
Published: Thursday, 27 April 2017

Domestic barite ‘4.3 gravity’; Government to meet with producers; Rig Count shows exploration up

The Nigerian federal government said in March that it will work with domestic barite (barytes) producers to convince those exploiting oil fields in the country to use their products.

Kayode Fayemi, Nigeria’s minister of solid minerals development, made the statements during a meeting with the Association of Miners and Processors of Barite (AMAPOB) in Benue.

Fayemi made assurances that he will meet with domestic oil companies to see why they were choosing to import barite from overseas producers, claiming that domestic grades of barite were of high enough quality to use in oil drilling, local media sources reported.

Barite needs to be of 4.2 gravity  in order to be used in oilfield app lications, where it is used as a weighting agent. Nigeria produces very  little barite and its quality is questionable, although Fayemi claimed local quality achieved 4.3 specification. 

The largest producer of barite is China, which in 2016 produced 22.8m tonnes, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), followed by India, which produced 1m tonnes.

Worldwide rig count 
Source: Baker Hughes 

Demand expected to rise

Demand for barite and other oilfield minerals is expected to rise alongside increased exploration. According to the latest Baker Hughes rig count, exploration increased in March 2017 (see graph).

While drilling is still in the lows compared with two years ago, there is an uptrend noted. 

Worldwide drill count was at 1,985, for the countries that participate, up 28% on March 2016. In the US, the drill count has increased 65% year-on-year to 789 in March 2017.