By Ejiofor Alike
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the federal government to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), better known as cooking gas as vehicular and domestic fuels respectively.
Speaking yesterday at his Hilltop Estate in Abeokuta, Ogun State when top officials of NIPCO Plc visited him to solicit his support for the use of gas as fuel in vehicles and homes, the former President said the policy to use CNG to fuel vehicles was initiated in 2006 during his tenure as the President of the country.
“If other government had had promoted the use of LPG and CNG in Nigerian half of the country’s vehicles would have been converted to gas. The essence was to provide alternative to petrol at a reduced cost and to boost national socio-economic growth,” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo said apart from the economic gains, CNG would also reduce unfriendly automobile emissions and exposure of Nigerians to the innovation of powering vehicles on gas.
In his speech, the Managing Director of NIPCO Plc, Mr. Venkataraman Venkatapathy, said the use of CNG would save the federal government N2 billion yearly, adding that the CNG project between promoted by his company is a joint venture scheme called Green Gas Limited (GGL) owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and NIPCO.
According to him, the GGL initiative, which is the first of its kind in West Africa, has ushered in a new era of vehicles running on the CNG in Nigeria with its attendant benefits
Venkatapathy argued that CNG is a superior auto fuel alternation to liquid fuels mainly petrol and diesel specially for countries like Nigeria, which is blessed with abundant availability of natural gas remains untapped.
He further stated that to replace 20 per cent of current petrol, consumption in Nigeria, the natural gas that would be required would be less than five per cent of the total domestic gas consumed currently and less than one per cent of the current gas production.
“This will save the country over N2billion early on foreign exchange. In Benin City, Edo, State over 4,000 vehicles run on CNG which resulted in replacing 20 million litres of petrol from 2012 to 2015, which also saved over nine million dollars to the country,’’ he said.
NIPCO MD identified the other benefits to include: low operating cost, lower maintenance cost and it reduced harmful vehicle emissions that cause local air pollution.
According to him, on a mile-to-mile basis, CNG will be cheaper than petrol by over 50 per cent and as compared to diesel (on dual fuel mode), by over 45 per cent.