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Nigerian govt directs petroleum ministry vehicles to utilize autogas

*NNPC stations to offer gas products as transportation fuels supplement from September

Minister of States for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has directed all Chief Executive Officers, CEOs of Ministries Departments and Agencies, MDAs and their top management staff to convert all official vehicles to run on autogas as a demonstration that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is serious with implementation of the National Gas Expansion Program, NGEP.

The Minister gave the directive at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources 3rd quarter 2020 ministerial mandate performance scorecard review session with the permanent secretary and Chief Executive Officers, CEOs of Agencies, as well as top management staff of the Ministry.

“I have surrendered my vehicles to the NGEP to convert all to dual fuel with use of either AutoLPG or AutoCNG. And on that premise, I now have the moral backing to direct that all CEOs and their able lieutenants do same by converting all their official vehicles to run on Autogas as a demonstration to the Nigerian people that indeed Government meant it when we declare this year “The Year of Gas””, the minister said in a release obtained by SweetcrudeReports.

The NGEP is a programme put in place by Mr. Sylva in furtherance of the domestic gas expansion programme of the current administration. It is designed to re-enforce, expand domestic Gas supply and stimulate demand in the country through the effective, efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources, and infrastructure in the country.

Following inauguration of the NGEP committee on 16th January 2020, the initiative is expected to generate over 12 million direct, indirect jobs, and human capacity development nationwide.

According to the release, the committee has identified autogas development as a key deliverable of the NGEP.

Consequently, plans have reached an advanced stage in line with ministerial directive and support for the development of LPG, CNG, and LNG collocation in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC-owned, and operated mega stations in the 36 states and Abuja.

“The NNPC and mega retail outlets owners and equipment providers are fully on board in this objective and measures are in place to achieve a roll-out of this Programme by end of September 2020 using select NNPC owned outlets as pilots”.

To this end, the committee said it is engaging large fleet owners, Nigerian Governors Forum, ALGON, conversion companies and dispensing facility owners to collaborate in to ensure the development of a virtual gas grid the conversion and establishment of refueling facilities nationwide leveraging on already existing pipelines and mother stations with a view to easing the cost burden of conversion which is a major impediment to auto gas development.

Also, in order to bridge the gas facility deficit, companies engaged in virtual gas movement that can serve the emerging domestic gas market have expressed ability and preparedness to meet the October 1st rollout timeline, according to the release.

“It is also worthy of note that the committee initiated the draft of a dual fuel engine importation and domestic manufacturing policy with the objective of pushing through the endorsement of government as an executive order with effect from January 2021. This will compel all engine imported or manufactured domestically to comply with the dual-fuel requirement as it is done in many other countries that have made significant progress in autogas utilisation.

“This will imply that all engine imports or manufactured domestically must comply. In the days ahead building up to the roll-out, parastatals under the MPR will be presenting designated vehicles for dual fuel conversion”.

In a telephone conversation, Technical Adviser on Gas Business & Policy Implementation, to Sylva, Justice Opelamina Derefaka said “the world is gradually turning away from crude oil to gas to drive their economies. Our collective efforts and putting all machinery in place to make gas a critical catalyst to our economic development should be a priority.

Approach should include the diversification of our economy, efficient management of revenues, commitment to local value addition in the gas industry. In the long run, a sustained decline in the price of oil may not be a bad thing for Nigeria as this may push us to diversify our economy using gas and away from dependence on oil”.

On his part, Dr. Abner P. Ishaku, Technical adviser on downstream to Sylva who also doubles as Program Manager of Compressed Natural Gas, CNG utilisation in the NGEP talked about the Aso Rock Villa CNG Retail Outlet and Power Plant Initiative.

Dr. Abner stated that the plan to establish the facilities in the villa to service villa vehicles and power supply is progressing with physical inspection of the villa undertaken by NGEP representatives and representatives of companies interested in partnering on the initiative.

“The pace is understandable, given the protocols associated with the location”, he said.

Speaking further, Dr. Abner said the NGEP has organised series of engagement with major stakeholders: Major Oil Marketing Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, Auto Mobile Assemblers, Nigeria Railway Corporation and others to discuss amongst stakeholders the use of CNG as an alternative fuel for Nigerians

Dr. Abner averred that with the rising cost of refined petroleum products to Nigerians of which over 90% of the fuels consumed in Nigeria is imported, hence there is need to provide a cheaper alternative fuel for Nigerians and help free government the huge cost of providing FOREX for petroleum importation and also provide a cheaper alternative for Nigerians.