Hope Rises for Cooking Gas Supply as NNPC, Sahara Vessels Commence voyage

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Newly-built Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessels – MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas – are set to commence operations that will see them berth in Houston, United States to convey their first ever consignment of gas expected to be delivered to the West African coast from March 2017

Both vessels’ operations are expected to actualise the vision of the Federal Government, which hinges on boosting the availability of the cooking gas in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

The two vessels will also address the lingering challenges of supply, affordability and fraudulent activities of companies seeking to adulterate cooking gas due to scarce supply.

In a statement at the weekend, Sahara Group said MT Africa Gas had already taken the lead, commencing its maiden voyage by sailing towards the Caribbean/US Gulf Region, adding that Sahara Gas is due to follow suit in the coming weeks.

LPG marketers in the country have commended the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru for taking bold steps at tackling the scarcity of cooking gas nationwide.

The marketers lauded their giant interventions towards ensuring sustainability, safety and reliability for millions of consumers who depend on the commodity for their daily energy needs.
Though considered as a cleaner, much safer and more affordable alternative to firewood and kerosene, Sahara Group argued in the statement that the acceptability of LPG in the sub-region has been affected by some challenges over the years.

“These hiccups include- but are not limited to low supply and logistics arising from limited to lack of LPG vessels in the region. But with the recent unveiling of two LPG vessels, being acquisitions driven by West Africa Gas Limited, a Joint Venture of NNPC and Sahara Group, there is a renewed optimism for what is popularly referred to as cooking gas in the country,” said the statement.

These two vessels, Hulls 8182 and 8183 were christened “Africa Gas” and “Sahara Gas” respectively at a historic naming event in Ulsan, far away South Korea.

The JV is run by two companies, NNPC LNG Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NNPC and Sahara Energy’s oil and gas trading arm, Ocean Bed Trading Ltd (BVI).

Working through the JV, NNPC’s LPG policy will in addition to improving supply within West African states, check the menace of deforestation in the sub region.

It is expected that in the long run, the growing negative impact of climate change across the globe will be drastically reduced.

While speaking at the inauguration of the LPG vessels in South Korea, the NNPC boss said it was “an outstanding achievement” for Nigeria considering the fact “that the Joint Venture between NNPC and Sahara is already recording success stories within a short period having been established in 2013.”

Baru said the NNPC remained committed to ensuring uninterrupted supply of cooking gas as well as the adoption of policies to drive sustainable development across the entire energy value-chain of the nation’s oil and gas sector