FG’s CNG Programme to Slash Petrol Import by 5.5 Billion Litres, $4.4 Billion Yearly

•Stakeholders discuss safety issues in new initiative

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The federal government yesterday disclosed that the new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) programme will reduce the country’s petrol imports by 5.5 billion litres as well as slash the yearly expenditure on bringing in the fuel by $4.4 billion.

The disclosure was made in Abuja at a programme themed: “Co-creation Session on Nigeria’s Gas Vehicle Monitoring System Engagement”, organised by the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas initiative (P-CNGi).

In a presentation at the event, the Coordinator, Regulations, Compliance and Facilitation of the PCNGi, Zayyan Tambari, reiterated that the federal government plans to convert 1 million vehicles in the coming years.

The PCNGi office further stressed that about $890 million investment would be required to develop infrastructure for the alternative fuel programme being executed by the Bola Tinubu administration.

Tambari explained that the government expects CNG to replace 20 per cent of the current 50 million litres of petrol consumed in the country daily by the time the government begins to ramp up the programme as part of the fiscal gains of gas transition.

The engineer added that with a decrease of 15 million litres of petrol consumption per day, natural gas supply cost will be $250 million annually.

Also speaking, the Programme Director and Chief Executive Officer of the PCNGi office, Michael  Oluwagbemi, stated that the meeting was organised so as to be able to understand the potential hiccups as the scheme gains momentum.

“It’s very important that we understand the potential hiccups. And the number one hiccup that should give everyone a worry is the potential for incidents, not  accidents because one incident is too much,” he stated.

As the country transitions from petrol and diesel, Oluwagbemi stated that it has been established that natural gas is cheaper, cleaner, safer and  more reliable as well as more sustainable for the economy.

“We have natural gas everywhere. But in doing that transition itself, we need to make sure that the transition is smooth and that we comply with the necessary basic technical regulations.

“In achieving that, however, we need the cooperation of all members of the ecosystem. Right from the point of inspection or conversion to the point of use, right from the point of manufacturing or importation of ready parts to the point of installation.

“There’s a need that we have a very strong regulatory regime. Even with a strong regulatory regime, there has to be potential for bad actors. But what will make us succeed, what will allow us to be able to walk back and identify those who are bad actors and take action, will be to have a strong monitoring system.

“That monitoring system has to be smart. It has to be technology-driven. But more importantly, it has to be centred around our sociology, our human behaviour,” he pointed out.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, pledged to continue to collaborate to make sure that Tinubu’s outlook in the sector is achieved to the benefit of all Nigerians.

Represented by the Executive Director, Distribution, Storage Systems and Retailing Infrastructure, Ukoha Ogbugo, he underscored the importance of ensuring compliance to quality requirements.

“The pressure of CNG must be within the specified range to ensure proper engine performance and safety. And in terms of pressure, the recommended maximum pressure, recommended cylinder pressure should be 200 bar at settled temperatures of 15 degrees centigrade. It’s also important that moisture is also considered.

“The dew point of compressed CNG and water content is of critical importance for the handling of CNG because it impacts on the storage cylinders, whether vehicular or those that are static at stations, refuelling stations. The piping as well, refuelling, coupling, and valves are also impacted by moisture as well as regulators and injection systems.

“The authority, in its guidelines, also is critical about particulate matter, whether dust or dirt. And we will insist that every appliance is incorporated with filters,” he added.

Minister of State Petroleum (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, who was represented by one of his Advisers, Abel Nsa, noted that with 209 trillion cubic feet of gas, Nigeria has got a tremendous amount of reserves, which it has to put to good use.

But he lamented that a lot of the gas is also stranded, explaining that the country needs infrastructural connectivity, reason it declared the ‘decade of gas’ scheme.

“A decade of gas means we’re going to change the economy, drive the economy using gas. So, indeed, compressed national gas is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative fuel,” he stated.

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