There are indications that Nigeria’s compressed natural gas, CNG, deficit may not abate in the near future as inappropriate pricing, paucity of infrastructure and non-existence of a regulating agency are yet to be settled.
Outlining these challenges during a visit to NIPCO facilities in Benin, Edo State, Managing Director, NIPCO Gas limited, Sanjay Teotia, stated that the development of CNG, which is also being used to fuel vehicles for profitability and environmental friendliness is being hampered by lack of accessibility to land.
He expressed regret that with the enormous gas reserves in the country, the potentials in the sector have not being fully utilised to the benefit of the people. Nigeria, Teotia said, would continue to miss the gains of the deposit of such gas reserves if the challenges are not resolved. He however lauded the Federal Government’s National Gas Expansion Programme Committee, which was recently inaugurated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timpre Silva, to steer the gas sector for optimal performance.
The setting up of the committee, the NIPCO Gas Ltd MD said, was very apt and a clear indication of the genuine resolve of the present administration to tackle challenges that bedevil the sector and pave the way for better utilisation of the nation’s massive gas resources in the overall interest of stakeholders .
According to him, the company, which got its license to operate in 2007, has seven gas stations in Benin alone, with other stations in Lagos and Delta States adding that NIPCO has laid 51km gas pipeline in Benin to distribute CNG to the seven stations in the city.
He said; “Currently, we have converted no fewer than 5000 vehicles from PMS/Diesel to CNG, and now distribute the product to few eatery in the city. We have the capacity to dispense 500 Standard Cubic Meter (SCM) and also dispense to no fewer than 20,000 vehicles here.
“The sector has the potential to provide numerous job opportunities and create a lot of economy potentials for the country once the government provides the necessary frame work to enhance its growth.
“For once, these must be appropriate pricing of gas to allow for affordability and the issue of land must be addressed as well. States government can encourage investment in the sector by giving land at a reduced rate,” he said.
Some of the motorists who spoke during the tour expressed delight on the over 40 percent savings they make using gas as auto fuel compared to using white petrol. They however appealed to the company to replicate the establishment of more CNG across the city and neighbouring states to improve access to the product.