As conventional oil reserves decline, international oil companies are increasingly turning their attention towards unconventional oils such as bitumen to meet rising demand for petroleum products. Bitumen, a very heavy oil, can be removed from the oil sands and used in road construction or upgraded into synthetic crude oil. With an estimated 38 billion barrels of bitumen across Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, and Lagos states, Nigeria ranks 6th globally among countries with bitumen reserves.
Armsfree Ajanaku has travelled to Ondo state communities situated along the bitumen belt of Nigeria to try and understand the people’s perception about the bitumen under their feet and their aspiration for development. He describes his experience in this article.