By Isiah Johnson
SIR: The rate at which the pump price of petrol goes up because of the uncertainty at the global level and the fact that petrol is not environment-friendly are two major reasons why we should all support the decision of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timpre Sylva, to popularise the use of autogas. The National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative, which saw the launch of the gas-fueled five buses in Abuja, is an indication that we are set to join the rest of the world.
What makes this development cheering is the fact that the vast natural gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with, has hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilisation. With a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and the additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.
The drive for an alternative to petrol becomes necessary as autogas is cheaper. The breakdown provided by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, showed that the landing cost of petrol rose from an average of N143.60 in December to N158.53 per litre on January 7. But the product is currently being sold at between N160 and N165 per litre at many filling stations in Lagos and its environs because of the intervention of the NNPC. The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, through the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), has intensified efforts to achieve a massive shift to autogas this year and it deserves our support.
The best way to go is autogas. Gas is the way to go as the option comes with a lot of benefits to Nigeria. Good enough, the Indigenous Gas Traders Association of Nigeria (INGASAN) has been meeting with the NGEP to come up with the list of members with the capacity to provide autogas services. We need to work out acceptable ways to encourage users to convert their automobiles to autogas in the coming months.
We should work on getting the about 500, 000 conversion engineers needed to ensure that the retrofitting of the vehicles go as planned. I am happy that 50 conversion centres are upgrading for mass conversion and training and over 30,000 vehicles are already running on dual fuels in Nigeria. It is gladdening that stakeholders in the gas sector appreciate the minister’s foresight. This unprecedented pronouncement aligns Nigeria to the growing global adoption of environment-friendly and clean-burning fuels, such as gas. Without doubt, this laudable policy, which comes on the heels of the concerted and constructive efforts by the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources to revitalised gas-based industrialisation propositions, is an exemplary achievement and significant step towards accelerated gas-inspired economic growth.
President Muhammadu Buhari also deserves our accolades for giving the minister the go-ahead to fix the prices for the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LNG).
Source: The Nation