By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Rilwanu Lukman, yesterday, described as unacceptable, the abysmal low domestic gas utilisation in the country, in spite of the fact that the nation is ranked the 7th largest gas reserve in the world.
He said it was against this backdrop that the Federal Government decided to make gas the fulcrum of the nationâ€™s new energy policy.
Dr. Lukman, who spoke during the inauguration of the Compressed Natural Gas Stations in Benin City, Edo State,Â said amongst the various programmes that the government had initiated was the Gas Master Plan,Â which is aimed at creating a structure that would enable the nationÂ leverage on the multiplier effects of gas on the economy.
According to him, â€œWe also have the accelerated gas projects which are aimed at allowing third party investors access to the oil fields at the flow stations and wellheads to obtain gas that would otherwise have been flared.
â€œThe projects would strip gas of liquids to be used as feedstock for the petrochemical industry, domestic and auto liguefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas and dry and lean gas for power generation to accelerate socio-economic development of the country across many sectors.â€
He stated that the objective of the compressed natural gas project was to create a framework for the production, retailing and distribution of compressed natural gas to end-users as well as the establishment of the basis for the displacement of conventional liquid fuels in the transportation sectors.
In his address, the Managing Director of NIPCO, Mr Girish Sanadhya, noted that the replacement of liquid fuel with gas would drastically reduce road transportation of petroleum products nationwide since gas would be largely carried by pipelines.
He said:Â â€œ This will impact positively on reduction of road accidents and carnage on our highways. Port congestion will be ameliorated and huge foreign exchange will be savedâ€.