President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday unveiled autogas as alternative for petrol in an expanded programme tagged National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).
The President, at the event held virtually, urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to fuel, noting that: “It is no longer news 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 utilization.”
“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.”
Buhari noted that the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.”
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications, to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.”
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I therefore encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
He directed Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.
Earlier, Sylva assured that with the structures on ground there will be no loop holes, stressing that gas resource is already in existence in Nigeria.
“I don’t think we are going to have any loopholes. Gas resources already exists in this country. Unfortunately, we have not utilized this gas resources optimally. We have over 200tcf of gas already discovered.”
“So we have the gas resources. Already, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is embarking on the gas commercialization programme. This is all geared towards the supply side. And in few days from now, we will be launching a gas facility in Edo state, all these are geared towards the supply side. So we want also encourage the utilization side, the demand side of it. And we just started today.
“We have always said that gas is the area that will create linkages with the people. Gas will power the industries, like you know, gas can be converted to fertilizer, and the fertilizer industry will power the agricultural industry, gas can be converted to methanol, and methanol will power the chemical industry, on course you know the power sector that can also be powered gas.”
“Gas can also power the petrochemical industries that can also create a lot of jobs. Today’s roll out marks the beginning of optimal utilisation of gas for the benefit of Nigerians” he added.
Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, disclosed that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly PMS, insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.
He stated that gas usage has continued to gain acceptance across the world due to its low cost and low pollution level.
“it therefore provides a cheaper and cleaner alternative to premium motor spirit known as petrol. From 2016 to 2019, the federal government spent over N3 trillion subsidising pump price of Petroleum particularly PMS.
“This has deprived our nation of the antecedent prosperity and the resources required to build critical infrastructure improve the economy, extract service investment and generate jobs for our people had been depleted by the subsidy regime.”
“The subsidy regime do not benefit the ordinary Nigerians which you are very passionate about.”
“The federal government being aware of the potential impact of this decision on the cost of transportation, initiated the transition to auto gas as a cheaper alternative for us aimed at deepening domestic gas utilisation”, he said.
He added that the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.
Also Engr. Sarki Auwalu, the Director Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR) boss urged stakeholders to ensure they work on quality of the gas to lower the explosive limit of the products for safety of Nigerians.