The FG’s current drive to diversify the nation’s economy is yielding results and the recent launch of the National Gas Expansion Program and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative is proof of this. The initiative aims to convert about one million cars from petrol powered to Compressed Natural Gas powered by the last quarter of 2021.
Furthermore, no fewer than 40 percent of the cars on Nigerian roads will also be converted to gas powered over the next 10 years. This move, according to President Mohammodu Buhari, will take advantage of the countrys 203 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas reserves. This is also in fulfilment of the government’s pledge to continue to find innovative solutions to the transportation challenges in the country. The new scheme, according to the government, would further help to minimize the issues arising from the deregulation of the downstream sector. The shift will also help in maintaining a cleaner environment, create new jobs, and advance the nation’s economy. The government expressed its intention to attract potential investors to the scheme and gradually eliminate overdependence on petrol for vehicles and industrial use.
While speaking on the new policy, Justice Derefaka, the Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Gas Business and Policy, disclosed that 30, 000 vehicles are already running on dual fuels in Nigeria with no record of explosion. Another added advantage is that car owners save running costs of about 40 to 45 percent when compared to petrol. For PMS at N161, you will have autogas at a range of N75 to N80. And monthly savings for a 100km daily shuttle is around N46,000. Monthly savings for a 50km daily shuttle is about N23,000, the Minister added. He further disclosed that unlike other fuels, there is no need for additives to guarantee high quality. Due to the absence of acids and carbon deposits on the engine parts, autogas vehicles have twice the energy life when compared to petrol. Also, it minimizes reliance on foreign exports while creating a more stable energy market that does not rely on supply and price volatility.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier in October announced the intentions of the Federal Government to convert cars from PMS to Compressed Natural Gas starting with commercial vehicles. Osinbajo disclosed that the plan was already tested in Edo State with the Dangote Firm which had converted not less than 4000 of its trucks to function with gas. He added that commercial transport buses will function with both gas and petrol.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had on September 9 ordered about 9,000 filling stations all over the country to commence the installation of facilities for gas products. Mr. Sarki Auwalu, DPR Director, stated that Nigerians should have a choice of energy they want to use. That is price freedom. We want motorists to switch to autogas (Compressed Natural Gas CNG, Liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG, or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) because it is cheaper and cleaner than petrol.
In 2013, about 3000 vehicles in Benin City, Edo State switched over to CNG. Mr. Anirudh Narula, the General Manager of Green Gas Limited, a company at the forefront of this, explained that the GGLs move had provided motorists with a more affordable alternative to petrol allowing for reduction of travel costs by almost 50%. NIPCO Plc, also disclosed that it converted a total of 5,600 vehicles in Nigeria to run with CNG in 2018. The conversions took place at the companys workshops in Benin City and Ibafo, Ogun State. With a high conversion cost range of about N250,000 to N300,000, depending on the condition of the car, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced on December 1, 2020, that there would be provision of free conversion services in some selected NNPC retail filling stations in the country.
Director Sarki expressed optimism in the success of CNG. He stated that apart from autogas, the government was committed to exploring gas use in industries, for power generation, agriculture, and for domestic use. He added that by 2022, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products because all these refineries under construction will come on-stream. We are looking at about 750, 000BPD and that is excluding the four refineries owned by the government.
The adoption of CNG would require more publicity and free conversation services to gain more traction amongst car owners. The Nigerian government needs to do more through media platforms to encourage the use of gas, and also prescribe appropriate safety measures, to avoid fire outbreaks as witnessed recently at a Gas station in the Fagba area of Lagos. In other words, more needs to be done to educate all stakeholders of the Gas market on the advantages of Gas use and also as regards fundamental safety measures that will drive the Autogas roll-out initiative.
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