By Emmanuel Addeh
The South-south and South-west have maintained the lead in the consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), better known as cooking gas in the country, a report by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has indicated.
In its trend analysis nationwide for 2019, the agency described the situation as peculiar, noting that the South-south came ahead of other regions in consumption with 45,290,430 litres.
PPPRA stated that cooking gas penetration was particularly high in Bayelsa State, followed by other states in the region and attributed the encouraging use of the product to persistent heavy rainfall almost throughout the year which discourages felling of trees for use of firewood as fuel.
“In the first quarter of 2019, the South-south zone of Nigeria consumed more Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) than any other zone in the country in the period under consideration and the trend continued throughout the year.
“The high consumption rate in this zone could be adduced to the increased use of LPG due to the typical climate of the zone having continuous heavy rainfall throughout the year thereby checkmating bush burning and deforestation including the production of charcoal.
“The region is closely followed by the South-west region, the North-central, South-east, North-west and lastly North-east. The trend continued in the second quarter of 2019 with the South-south region leading the pack with quarterly consumption of 5,339,001 litres followed by the South-west, North-central, South-east, North-west and lastly North-East.
“ In the third quarter of 2019, the South-south consumed the highest volume of LPG followed by South-west, the South-east, North-central, North-west and lastly North-east and the trend continued in the fourth quarter with the South-south still consuming the highest volume of LPG followed by the South-west, South-east, North-central, North-west and North-east,” it said.
In addition to the climate in the Niger Delta, the PPPRA credited the increased awareness of the advantages inherent in the use of LPG as a clean fuel alternative over other forms of cooking fuels in the area as another reason for the increased consumption.
In terms of truckload distribution, it said the North-central consumed 23,829,869; North-east, 3,422,874; North-west, 16,503,995; South-east 19,405,856; South-south 45,290,430 and South-west 37,468,269; totalling 145,921,284.
“Our nation’s LPG industry is evolving; from geopolitics to economics, technologies, and regulations. Making informed decisions in this evolving industry environment is a challenge that every stakeholder is facing,” it said.
But the organisation lamented that despite the falling international oil prices, Nigerians have not felt any relief at the retail end of LPG distribution chain.
“From 2018 to 2019, the yearly average retail prices of LPG decreased by merely 1.28 per cent. The yearly national average retail price went from N3, 911.71 per 12.5 Kg cylinder in 2018 down to N3,861.64 per 12.5 Kg cylinder in 2019,” PPPRA stated.
It listed some reasons domestic gas prices have continued to increase to include monopoly on the petroleum terminals, non-functional pipelines and refineries, insufficient supply occasioned by pirate’s attack and other shipping challenges.
It also attributed the prices to marketers bottom line approach and lack of adequate regulatory oversight.