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MAKING THE YEAR OF GAS COUNT …FG Partners with Stakeholders on Alternative Energy

As part of the Federal Government’s strategies to reposition the gas sub-sector, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has commenced the implementation of critically conceived initiatives to foster efficiency and attract investment along the broad spectrum of the gas value chain as embedded in government’s policy aspiration as encapsulated in the nation’s Gas Policy which, indeed, aligns with the Ministry’s 2019-2023 nine (9) priority project deliverables, vis-à-vis clusters for gas resource, rapid growth of the LPG/CNG/LNG market; development of supporting infrastructure, investment, and domestic growth.

Impeccable Ministry sources revealed to Valuechain that the effort also includes the promotion of natural gas usage in Nigeria, thereby creating alternative fuel choices for Nigerians. It is expected that this will stimulate economic growth, further improve our energy mix, drive investments and provide jobs in Nigeria.

This was made known at a meeting held recently in Abuja between the Committee of the National Gas Expansion Programme {NGEP) and some stakeholders in the oil and gas Industry. The NGEP was inaugurated by the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva in January, 2020 as the mechanism to boost domestic utilization of Natural Gas in Nigeria in the short and medium term. As part of the Programme, an Autogas and Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) [i.e. Autogas vehicles powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) – an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), a sub-committee was constituted with the sole aim to drive the adoption of Autogas/NGVs as an alternative fuel in Nigeria.

Chief Timipre Sylva, HMoPR

The establishment of the NGEP is a ydeliberate attempt by government in its attempt to key into the global shift from crude oil to gas, to make 2020 count as Nigeria’s “Year of Gas” and to ensure that the nation’s abundant gas resources are adequately deployed for the good of the country and the citizenry.

The committee was charged with the mandate to reinforce and expand domestic gas supply to stimulate demand through an efficient and effective mobilization and utilization of all available assets, resources and infrastructures in the country.

Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim in his submission to the gathering of major Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) stakeholders posited that increased utilization of CNG/LNG will provide the enabling environment for investors in Nigeria to invest in Gas-Based Industry (GBI). This, according to him, will aid the process of diversifying the economy while addressing the gaps in power generation to create wealth for the country. CNG/LNG can be employed to power passenger cars and city buses.

He added that amongst stakeholders invited for the meeting, NIPCO PLC has been in the business of CNG spanning 10 years now.

Speaking further, the Chairman said the Gas Expansion Programme Committee met with major fuel station owners in Abuja to discuss modalities for inclusion of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) dispensing facilities in their stations, a proposal the marketers expressed interest in.

The Marketers, however, opined that their major worry revolves around regulations, but the committee was quick in allaying their fears, stating that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will do the needful. The Marketers are A. A. Rano, A.Y.M Shafa, NIPCO PLC and DAN Oil among others.

Also speaking at the event, Chief of Staff to the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Engr. Moses Olamide disclosed that the planned introduction of CNG as an alternative fuel would bring down the cost of transportation of goods and commuters.

In her contribution, the Program Manager, Domestic LPG (DLPG), Ms. Brenda Ataga informed that the Secretariat of the NGEP is interfacing with a team from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and ALGON, on their engagements with selected states across the six geo-political zones in the country.

On his part, the Technical Adviser (TA) on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, who also doubles as the Program Manager, AutoLPG in the National Gas Expansion Program (NGEP), Mr. Justice Opelamina Derefaka said the NGEP is in collaboration with NNPC for the co-location of Autogas and NGV in NNPC Retail owned and operated refueling stations nationwide.

Mr. Derefaka further informed the gathering that the NGEP through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and in partnership with NNPC, will issue an Expression of Interest (EoI) form to bonafide parties, i.e. Entrepreneurs/Sole Proprietorships/Technology Providers/Partnerships/Companies to participate in an open and competitive bid/award process (auction) with the intent to invest in scaling up of and interest in developing and operating Autogas and Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) refueling stations for supply to vehicles as retailers.

Mr. Derefaka further said that the auction will present a significant opportunity for domestic developers and their technology providers and/or original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) alike to participate in a unique initiative geared towards deepening natural gas usage in Nigeria.

He said successful bidders will be granted Permit to Situate Station (PtSS) underpinned by a lease agreement with the FGN acting through Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Retail (“NNPC Retail”), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Approximately forty-six (46nos) of NNPC Retail owned and operated refueling stations spread across the 36 states of the Federation are available on an ‘as is, where is’ basis through the auction.

The purpose of inviting this EoI according to Mr. Derefaka is to encourage the Applicant to co-locate and set up Autogas/NGVs refueling stations and enable scaling up of the gas utilization potential in the transport sector by replacing costly and environmentally unfriendly diesel and petrol which are almost 100% imported.

The Stakeholders in attendance for the meeting include NIPCO, Total Support Energy, AXXELA Group, PowerGas, and NURTW, among others.