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80 Years Indian Compressors Company to Boost Nigeria’s CNG Adoption

Prakash Naik is the Vice President, Sales, of Indian Compressors Limited. Recently, he spoke with Yange Ikyaa in an exclusive interview in Abuja, where he expressed the strategic ambition of his company to achieve broad-based expansion into the Nigerian gas market, particularly leveraging the country’s prioritization of gas as its energy transition fuel. Excerpts:

Tell us about your background, your company and services.

I am Prakash Naik. I am the Vice President, Sales, for Indian Compressors Limited. It is quite popular by the name of ICL in India, and we are into all sorts of gas compressors.

So, when we talk about gas compressors, we can compress all gases, which could be poisonous, frozen, flammable, explosive, or ferocious. And one of the gases, which today the world is talking about is CNG. Because CNG is something which is good for use as a fuel, we can lend support for the compression of CNG in various types.

There are different types of compressors, which can be used for low pressures. We can have the compressors for medium pressure, and we can have compressors for high pressure.

Lastly, in addition to the compressors, we also have the pumps, the cryogenic pumps, and this can also come in handy for the LNG compression.

On this particular visit, what can you say is your specific mission here in Nigeria?

We have come to just showcase our products. We do have customers in Nigeria, quite a few of them, so we would be meeting them; although we will like to also meet the other prospective customers and tell them that we are here and they could look or seek our products to gain value from us and also for the gas business.

Today, when Nigeria is talking CNG all over the place, with the subsidy for petrol gone, and now CNG is the main thing. This means there will be an outburst of demand for CNG kits, as well as more number of vehicles on the roads using CNG. Naturally, the CNG filling stations will have to come up.

Therefore, we can go into the CNG filling stations that will certainly need or use our service. So, we are here to talk about it, and we welcome everybody from Nigeria to visit us and our facility, and we will like to visit them door to door also.

Is this your first time coming to Nigeria or have you been here before?

This is my first time in Nigeria. I am fortunate to be here. Splendid country, beautiful, green. However, my colleague has been here for a very long time.

How long has your company been in operation?

ICL has been into compressors for the past 80 years. This is the 80th year of Indian Compressors Limited, close to 100 years.

These technologies you are talking about now, how did you begin to develop them, and how did you get to this level?

When we go into the compression of gases, each gas is different, their properties are different. Like I mentioned, some are frozen, some are poisonous, etc, so we look at the properties of the gas and we look at which type of compression can be used or can fit in. Now, talking about CNG, when CNG compression became the need, everybody wanted to compress this gas from atmospheric pressure of up to 2 bar, 3 bar, 4 bar, 5 bar, 16 bar, 20 bar to 250 bar to bottle it, so the requirement is that any of these gases need to be compressed to up to 250 bar.

So, we invented the compressors, which are capable of doing this, and then, in the series, we have smaller compressors, we have bigger compressors, like the larger compressors and we can address the need of the customer, whether it is a small or a big customer.

How can you talk about the reliability of your technology; how reliable have these technologies been?

I will give an example of India because we have been having this since 1998, and that is a very long time, and our compressors supplied in 1998 are still working today. Apart from that, since there are many compressors which we have in the country of India, and we believe in training the service teams and positioning them at different places to attend to the needs of different customers.

They are also to develop man power in-country, train hands to oversee the reliability of the product here in Nigeria.

Have you started the training of these people in Nigeria or are you just planning to do so?

I will say we are planning to do so. Once some installations come, then, we can have the manpower. We have the expertise of creating the manpower, and as soon as we spread, we will start training the people to meet the requirements of this service.

Will you look at the possibility of manufacturing these components here in Nigeria, or are you willing to set up factories in Nigeria in the future?

Yes, I will put it this way. We are looking at the way we expanding this market, the acceptability by this market, yes, definitely. Although we are headquartered in India, we do have factories outside of India. We do have two factories in Italy also. We chose Italy because from there is a center from where we can get the technology.

So, why not look at Nigeria? There is an immense potential here and if we can explore that potential, at least, we could seriously think of having our presence here, even in form of manufacturing.

Since it is your first time here, how do you feel about the people of Nigeria?

I find Nigerian people very warm, smiling, receptive.