Port Harcourt — In a bid to bridge the gap on access to reliable energy for manufacturing operations in the country, the Shell Nigeria Gas Limited, SNG, says it has connected over 150 kilometres of pipeline infrastructure specifically dedicated to gas for various industries.
SNG, which is the gas arm of Shell Companies in Nigeria, explained that the move is to ensure that manufacturers and the manufacturing communities in the country can switch to gas, a cleaner and cheaper energy.
Managing Director of SNG, Mr. Ed Ubong, speaking on ‘Sustainable Business Strategies and Support to COVID-19 Efforts’, maintained that gas remained the game changer and SNG was using gas to support local industrialisation to diversify the nation’s economy.
Ubong, who spoke on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, titled ‘Canvas-Niger Delta Roundtable’, disclosed that SNG was helping to solve the issue of access to energy and has successfully connected industries in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and most recently in Abia state on to gas.
He affirmed that gas can drive Nigeria’s industrialisation, help to provide increasing number of employments and increase revenue for the government.
“The major challenge facing most manufacturers in Nigeria is access to reliable energy for manufacturing operations. The businesses incur expenses on running power – generators, petrol, diesel, kerosene and coal. And these are not necessarily the cleanest sources of energy.
“High cost of energy generation, of course, increases the overall running cost, reducing the overall ability of these locally-manufactured products to favourably compete with cheap imports.
“What we have done at Shell Nigeria Gas Limited is ask ourselves “how do we bridge this gap?” For us, that means how do we ensure that most of the manufacturing communities can switch to gas – which is cleaner, and which is cheaper.
“We have done this successfully in Abia, in Ogun and in Rivers States. Even during the lockdown, in spite of the challenges, we were able to complete our 20 kilometres pipelines expansion that now connects Ariaria Market, ITT in Aba, together with Osisioma, and Ogbor Hill. What it has done is that it has allowed some of those businesses to be able to come back up.
“Overall, we have connected over a 150 kilometres of pipeline infrastructure specifically dedicated to gas for various industries. We have started a project in Polaku in Bayelsa State, which will allow us to take some of the gas within the Gbaran area to distribute it locally within Bayelsa State.
“So, for us, it is about, can gas drive Nigeria’s industrialisation? The answer is yes. Can gas, by driving Nigeria’s industrialisation, help to provide increasing number of employments? The answer is yes. Can gas by driving industrialisation in Nigeria lead to states having more internally generated revenue? The answer again is yes.
“And I think it is a combination of these three-prong approach around industrialisation, providing employment and improving states’ internally generated revenues that will help the Niger Delta to grow its social base.”
The SNG boss stated that Lagos and Ogun states are the top two states with more internally generated revenue than Federal allocation, as a result of access to gas, adding that SNG was also building a gas network in Rivers State.
He said specifically in June 2020, despite COVID19, the company connected a plastic and paint manufacturing company in Aba on to gas, as SNG remains committed to helping small businesses to switch to cleaner energy.
“The other bit of course is that over the pandemic period, we have worked with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the federal government which allows businesses to put in place waivers that allow businesses to move goods freely.
“The key point is that if you are having a challenge around the energy space reach out to us at Shell Nigeria Gas Limited and we’ll work it together to see how we can support your business through this period.
“The energy industry is a wide industry with significant value chain synergies to reach different people. What we are doing in SNG is trying to encourage companies to succeed. It is an industrialisation drive. The plastic and paint company, for example, is going to employ lots of people. That for us is our pride.”