She said Nigeria was beginning to see a change in the direction of gas utilisation with the novel initiative of using compressed natural gas as vehicular fuel.
The Minister was quoted to have said this in a paper titled, ‘Encouraging Investment in Gas Production and Consumption,’ at a national conference on gas organised by the Senate Committee on Gas Resources in Abuja.
She also commended the pilot initiative between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Nipco through a joint-venture scheme – Green Gas Limited, according to a statement by Nipco signed by its Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Lawal Taofeek.
According to her, the drive had resulted in significant infrastructure development within and around Benin City where the project took off with other ancillary benefits.
The Minister, whose address was delivered by the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, said Green Gas supplied over 4,000 taxis and cars with natural gas, with the trend growing on a daily basis.
She noted that the use of gas instead of petrol had translated into significant savings for the taxi drivers in Benin City and its environs aside from its huge environmental benefit for the citizenry.
The Minister explained that another welcome effect of the commencement of compressed natural gas usage for transport in the ancient city was that the campaign for conversion of vehicles is now being driven by taxi drivers.
In his presentation titled, ‘Natural Gas Vehicle Sustainability and Opportunity,’ the Managing Director, Nipco, Mr. Venkataraman Venkatapathy, said globally, the natural gas industry was increasing its focus and effort to support natural gas transport.
He, however, noted that policy and regulatory support was needed to create programmes and incentives comparable with those of other fuels in the country.
According to him, the success of natural gas utilisation as an alternative vehicular fuel relies much on strong government support through the provision of needed infrastructure, which will further boost customer confidence in the project
He listed support needed to accelerate the Natural Gas Vehicle programme to include among others: special gas pricing (lower than power sector); subsidy to vehicle owners for this purpose; waiver of custom duty on importation of NGVs; ensuring that 50 per cent of vehicles imported are equipped with CNG.
Venkatapathy said to achieve this initiative, which will increase the utilisation of the nation’s abundant gas resources as auto fuel, there was the need for the formation of a special committee to drive the adoption.
According to him, the committee should formulate policies with clear strategic plan on Nigeria’s fuel mix, including auto fuel policy for use of natural gas as vehicular fuel.
– The Punch