By Michael Eboh
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government would be handing over a total of 1,000 gas-powered buses to organized labour.
Speaking during the launch of the National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP, in Abuja, by President Muhammadu Buhari, Sylva stated that the buses would be given out to labour starting from the first quarter of 2021, while the rest would be provided over the next months.
“We would start in the first quarter of next year with over 100 buses and we would continue to incrementally add the buses until we get to that number,” Sylva noted.
He added that over one million conversion kits would be provided across the country, to enable people to convert their vehicles free of charge, adding that the conversion programme would continue indefinitely, as more people choose to convert their vehicles to use autogas solely, or on dual fuel, comprising use of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, and autogas.
He said: “We are going to have one million conversion kits, which would be with the people who would be converting the vehicles. Any motorist that wants to convert his or her vehicle would only drive into the conversion centres and convert their vehicles for free at all time.
“Unfortunately, we have not utilized our gas resources optimally. We have over 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, TCF, already discovered.
“We have initiated programmes in the gas supply side, with the proposed launch of gas facilities in Edo State and the National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, but we needed to boost the utilization side, and that is what this programme is about. Today’s roll-out marks the optimal utilisation of Nigeria’s gas resources across the country.”
Sylva explained that as part of the roll-out strategy, selected filling stations across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, would start the installation of facilities for gas products and conversion capabilities.
“The availability of autogas as an alternative fuel option will afford Nigerians cheaper, a cleaner and the additional choice of fuel, cheaper than the price of PMS, cleaner for our environment, better for our automobiles and other engines,” the minister added.
Also speaking, Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Engineer Sarki Auwalu, disclosed that 9,000 filling stations had been initially selected across the country to dispense autogas, comprising Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, and Liquefied Natural Gas, LPG.
He stated that out of about 31,000 petrol stations across the country, 9,000 were identified as having the capacity to install gas facilities as an add-on, in their premises.
He further stated that going forward, in addition to the 9,000 identified filling stations, it would be made compulsory for other petrol stations having the capacity to install autogas facilities in their premises to do so, as this would be a crucial part of their licensing requirements.
He added that the DPR is playing a crucial role in the National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP, especially in the autogas scheme to ensure safety in the deployment of the facilities and in the utilization of the commodity
In addition, he said: “This shows that we are not just regulators, we are business enablers and opportunity providers. Today, this happened because DPR issued licences and enabled these businesses. Now it would provide alternative fuels for all Nigerians. All these would happen if DPR grants licences.
“The value chain would influence the lives of over 200 million Nigerians. As said, this would be replicated not only in NNPC mega and filling stations; the 9,000 petrol stations that had been identified were licensed by DPR. We look at each of the licences and see stations that are capable of accommodating Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, autogas.
“That station must, it is compulsory, must for the next licensing of that facility, must have this gas facility so that energy would be available.”