Nigeria’s Decade of Gas, which spans 2021 to 2030, has the capacity to create 12 million jobs and transform the economy into a productive one.
This can be gleaned from statements made recently by the Chairman of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Dr. Mohammed M. Ibrahim.
Dr. Ibrahim, in the presentation of a paper at Nigeria’s Auto Journalists 2023 Training, described Nigeria as ‘a country with an ocean of gas and a drop of oil’, stressing that gas is in commercial quantity in every nook and cranny of the country.
With the global preference for gas as the fuel of choice in the mobility sector rising by as much as 40%, the NGEP Committee, the body officially entrusted with deepening gas utilisation in Nigeria, has described autogas as the most readily available and viable alternative to petrol and diesel.
Gas has been universally proven to be more economical, and a cleaner fuel source.
As Nigerians grapple with the high cost of fuel sequel to the removal of subsidies in PMS, there has been a growing penchant for car owners to convert their tanks to either compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).
CNG, LPG, and LNG, according to the NGEP, can respectively burn 3 times, 6 times, and several times more economically than premium motor spirit.
On the premise that there are 30 million vehicles and 10 million generating sets in Nigeria are ready for conversion to the use of gas, according to the NGEP.
The program says converting 30 million vehicles to autogas will require an average of 5.6 million man-hours. That will require training technicians and marketers all over the country.
The federal government says out of ten thousand filling stations across the country, there are over 9,000 licensed filling stations that are fit for the co-location of facilities that dispense autogas fuel. Hence there will be the need to train technicians to co-locate facilities to dispense autogas fuel, which also requires training on the new technology.
He said the lowest hanging fruit for Nigeria is not CNG, but LPG. “9,000 out of the 10,000 retail outlets in Nigeria has provision for auto LPG. It is affordable, available all over the country and clean.
“You can deploy auto LPG in 90 days but can never deploy CNG in less than 6 months because you can never get all the cascades,” he said.
“We have the big one called the gas-based industry whereby you take the molecule of natural gas using modular systems to produce textiles, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers. The most important thing is that the gas-based industry is what gives you petrochemicals. Without petrochemicals, you can never develop.
“He said currently, the only CNG station available between Ogun State and Lagos is one at Ibafo (NIPCO). “So how can you service 10 million vehicles with only one CNG filling station? People can convert so easily from gasoline to LPG just by using conversion kits, which used to cost N5,000, but have increased in price to N11,000 due to demand,” he stated.
There will also be the need to build the capacity to produce CNG, LPG, and LNG to satisfy the domestic market, which will require new skills and additional labour. The federal government reckons that when implemented, at least 12.5 million new jobs will be created that will transform the Nigerian economy.
Dr. Ibrahim said four years ago the NGEP informed all stakeholders about the looming transition and they said it would never happen. “It will happen between six months and one year from this moment,” he said.
“There’s a massive need for capacity building; the reason why it has been slow is because the powerful subsidy cartel has frustrated every single fact of NGEP work.
“Most of the long haul vehicles are running on CNG, but NGEP is trying to introduce LNG to go further. I see in the next six months to one year that 80% of LPG produced in Nigeria will be used for auto and small generators while 20% will be used in households.
“Currently, 37% of vehicles in Ghana run on LPG; the remaining 63% is used in households. Dangote has a CNG plant in Obajana that services 15,000 of his trucks as we speak. All the fleets in Coca-Cola today are running on CNG. All the fleets in La Farge in Sagamu are running on CNG.
“One of the major problems we are having in building the gas economy and building capacity is bureaucracy. But this government seems to be responsive to common sense,” he said.
Ibrahim noted that Nigeria will never have development if it does not have electric energy. On the other hand, Nigeria will never have electric energy if the focus is on exporting gas because, for every molecule Nigeria exports, it actually exports petrochemicals, power, agriculture production, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and even textiles.
He stated that NGEP has a program to make sure that LPG is reticulated in every nook and cranny of the country, adding that the program started 3 years ago.
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