Stories By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it is committed to growing local consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly known as cooking gas, with improved supply program for the domestic market.
It also noted its desire to grow Nigeria’s share of the global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market to 10 per cent, even though it did not state when it intends to achieve this.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this recently at the 2018 edition of the annual conference and exhibition of the Nigerian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) in Abuja.
Baru, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Downstream of the corporation, Mr. Henry Kem-Obih, stated that the NNPC was determined to invest in making LPG available to Nigerians across board.
He said this was because it wanted to discourage the current trend of using firewood and other unsafe fuel sources for cooking, adding that it was time the NNPC brought LPG closer to the Nigerian people and at affordable prices.
Baru, in a presentation entitled: ‘Strategic Direction – Driving Nigeria’s LPG Future,’ said significant investment has been made by NNPC to address the challenges of scarcity of LPG.
He listed some of the measures the corporation has initiated to deepen LPG consumption in the country to include, expansion of NNPC’s LPG storage facility at Apapa from 4,000 metric tonnes (MT) to 8,000MT in the first phase; construction of pipelines to deliver LPG to plants in the hinterland; as well as development of coastal supply facilities.
According to him: “We have also purchased two LPG vessels for export operations through the West African Gas Ltd (WAGL), a joint venture firm, and we have developed a growth strategy plan and gradually providing LPG skids across NNPC retail outlets.”
Baru, stated that on the global scene, the NNPC was doing everything to leverage Nigeria’s enormous gas reserve to secure about 10 per cent of the global market share of traded LNG.
With regards to gas market development, stakeholders at a recent conference of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), had called on the federal government to provide a policy framework to guide gas development, pointing out the need for the government to review and strengthen existing policies guiding operations in Nigeria’s gas market.
They specifically asked the government to initiate enabling legislation to encourage private sector investments which according to them was needed by the country’s gas market to grow.
At the October conference of the NGA, stakeholders had also opined that the oil and gas industry restructuring has lasted too long and called on the government to urgently pass the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB); Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB); Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB) and the Petroleum Industry Host Community Bill (PIHCB), to increase investor confidence in the gas industry.
According to them, there was a need to deepen LPG utilisation in Nigeria through policy and market-driven reforms that would encourage private capital investment in the sector.
The conference equally identified challenges confronting the LPG sector as the global pricing benchmark; exchange rate volatility; shortage of discharge terminals; inadequate storage and transportation infrastructure; taxation of locally produced LPG as against non-taxation of imported LPG, and called for concerted action by the government to address these issues.