Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President said the plan by the Federal Government to convert Nigerian cars to run on Compressed Natural Gas, CNG will commence with commercial vehicles.
He made this known on Monday, stating that the plan was already being experimented in Edo State where Dangote firm had converted all its trucks to run on gas.
According to a statement on Monday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President disclosed this during an interview he had with State House correspondents on Sunday.
The statement was titled, ‘President Understands Pains of Nigerians, Working Out Further Palliatives -VP Osinbajo.’ He described the plan as one of the strategies the Federal Government was adopting to make energy cheaper for Nigerians, to carry out their daily activities.
He said, ‘One of the ways is by using Compressed Natural Gas. Government is committed to do the conversion. First of all, we are starting with commercial vehicles. Most commercial transporters will have the capacity to use both gas and petrol. That is already being done experimentally in Edo State.’
‘Dangote, for instance, has converted all his trucks to the use of CNG, and that is 4,000 or even more of those trucks. It is not a particularly difficult thing to do for the commercial transporters, it may be expensive for the individual but that is also part of the commitment of government, to be able to do the conversion, and the price of gas comes at about almost half the price of petrol.’
Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources said in a press briefing last month that the introduction of alternative fuel is meant to give the recent deregulation of the downstream sector a ‘human face’. ‘Gas will now become fuel for our cars and the program will be rolled out within the next month.’
The Department of Petroleum Resources issued a directive to 9,000 filling stations across the country for the installation of facilities for gas products last month. That is in line with the goal to improve the use of liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and auto-gas as alternative fuels for Nigerians. ‘If you go to a filling station and you convert your car to dual capability or dual fuel, you will find gas LPG, you find CNG and LNG being sold.’ Sylva said
Nigerians are said to be consuming about 45 million liters of fuel daily, while the nations’ refinery could scarcely produce 12 million liters of the product. The development leaves the country with no option than to continue to import the product. The country is currently facing serious constraints as a result of foreign exchange scarcity in the country.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline (petrol), diesel fuel or propane/ LPG. Its combustion does not produce greenhouse gases.
Statistics from Nigeria Gas Company Limited (NGC) showed that Nigeria could save an average of N10 trillion yearly if three cities alone convert to use of CNG. It is said that Compressed Natural Gas can earn the Federal Government over N200 billion for every one million cars converted into CNG from petrol engine.
NGC data showed that Abuja Investment spends N13.9 billion average daily on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), but can reduce that cost to N3.6 billion and saving a whopping N10.4 billion daily if their vehicles run on CNG. In Lagos, the major intra-city transporters, Lagbus and BRT, are estimated to spend an average of N14.8 billion daily on AGO, and can save up to N11 billion by expending just N3.8 billion on CNG. Port Harcourt is another commercial hub with average daily spend of N8.5 billion on PMS and AGO, which can be significantly reduced to N2.8 billion, saving almost N5.7 billion daily if they are run on natural gas. From the analysis, the country could be saving about N28.72 billion daily, which translates to N861.6 billion monthly and N10 trillion yearly. It is considered a very attractive business opportunity for both the consumer and the supplier.
Gas is not only environmentally friendly; it is economical and, with help of new technologies, it is commercially viable and much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill. The idea of using natural gas as fuel for vehicles is not new as there have been natural gas vehicle in Italy since the 1930s. Benefits of CNG includes reduction in environmental pollution; flexibility in choice of fuels for vehicles; cheaper than gasoline or diesel fuel equivalent; less volatile than gasoline or diesel; and no direct threat to land or water contamination in the case of a leak.
Natural gas also extends the engine life of vehicles because it’s easier to combust; reduces engine maintenance cost by extending time between oil changes; eliminates fuel theft as it cannot be siphoned from vehicles. CNG in Nigeria is sustainable considering that Nigeria is one of the largest producers of natural gas.
Sagas, a division of Borkir Energy Company Limited, a subsidiary of Dangote Group signed a 20-year sales and purchase agreement with the Nigeria Gas Company (NGS) to supply and distribute the CNG to all its filling stations nationwide.
The Vice President said the government was involved in other ways to lighten the burden on Nigerians, saying nobody expected a downturn in the economic fortunes of the country occasioned by the fallouts of COVID-19 pandemic.
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