Lagos — The federal government has assured private investors in the National Gas Expansion Programme, NGEP of sanctity of contract, saying it would not “change game midway”.
While speaking on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ on Tuesday, Engr. Justice O. Derefaka, Technical Adviser on Gas Business & Policy Implementation to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said the NGEP is reliable, assuring investors of government’s commitment to its full implementation.
“We want to assure all investors that the gas programme is reliable, and that the federal government is working seriously to protect sanctity of contract”, he said.
Themed ‘Natural Gas As Cheap Alternative Fuel For Transportation & Other Prime Movers – Catalyst for Nigeria’s Economic Renaissance’, Justice Derefaka said once implemented, the programme would assure the masses that autogas is a cheaper alternative to petrol.
The Minister had declared year 2020 and beyond as a year of gas in Nigeria.
He impressed that the government would create a business friendly environment for investors, adding that part of the move is ensuring the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
According to him, although the government is also looking at supplying part of the gas to international market however, he assured that the focus of the NGEP is more of in-country gas usage.
Autogas is predominantly propane. Some call it Liquified Petroleum Gas, LPG. However, to the common man, it is the same thing as cooking gas.
“The federal government wants to make the product available nationwide”, he said.
He however said a major challenge to its implementation is lack of infrastructure.
“We don’t have the infrastructure on ground currently. That’s why we are working with the NNPC, DRP to see that all is in place for smooth implementation”, he said.
According to him, the NNPC stations would be used as the first stage of the collocation, after which other stakeholders such as the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPMAN, the Nigerian Association of Road Truck Owners, NARTO and others would also be factored into the plan.
“We want to make sure that the likes of MOMAN, DAPMAN, NARTO and don’t run out of business by the time implementation starts. That’s why we have currently engaging them to see how they can key into the initiative”, he said.
In terms of converting vehicles to run on the Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, he said the process would take nothing less than 6-7 hours.
“Vehicle owners should have it in mind that they would just have to drive into stations and get their vehicles converted within six to seven hours”, he added.
Also speaking, a representative of gas tank manufacturing sector, Dickson Iwareme said local manufacturers of gas tanks are well prepared for the huge task ahead.
“The advantages of using autogas is very enormous”, he said when asked about his opinion on the NGEP initiative.
“We have the capacity to support it and get it achieved, and we assure Nigerians that the quality of the tanks we manufacture here is as good as those manufactured outside the country”, he said.
According to him, the tank manufacturers have been working closely with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON and the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR in making sure of the safety of the tanks.
“The DPR, SON, and other agencies have been visiting our facilities to check the quantity and quality of what we have “, he added.