Nigeria Set for Multi- Fuel System Filling Stations
By Daphne Uduneje
Buoyed by the need to ensure the country compiles with the use of alternatives to fuel, The National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) has said 9,000 out of 10,000 filling stations in Nigeria have qualified to become multi-fuel stations where vehicle owners can refuel for autogas and petrol.
Chairman of the NGEP, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, disclosed this at the annual training workshop of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) held in Lagos.
He revealed that “ Under our NGEP programme, we have what we call the multi-fuel scheme whereby we do not intend to shut down the current petrol stations that we have in the country, about 10,000 of them and like I said earlier we have carried out an audit whereby 9000 of 10,000 qualify to retrofit to become multi-fuel”
According to him there are a couple of such filling stations in the country, noting that, “ as you drive into a filling station, you are going to have dispensing facilities for your petrol, diesel, and kerosene but in addition you are going to have the dispensing facilities with the cryogenic tower that enables you to have access to LNG and also a dispensing pump for CNG and also a charging point for your electric vehicles”.
He noted that this becomes a multi-fuel retail outlet that enables consumers to have access to LNG for thrust long hauls, that is, CNG for 300km maximum and conventional petrol, diesel and kerosene.
He, however pointed out that , “ you don’t even need a separate CNG facility because all you just need is if you have your cryogenic tower, you can generate CNG from your LNG in your station by an addition of a pump.
“So what you actually need is LCNG. You need a facility that enables you to generate CNG from your LNG in your station. So we are now going to have a station like this- you drive in there, it gives you the price regimes and then you pay the lowest. This is exactly what the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) has designed over the last three and half years and we are seeing that happen.
Dr Mohammed warned that the only danger is this, is that the moment gas comes in, the number of petrol stations in the country will reduce, because there will be instances where a truck from Lagos to Maiduguri, and from Enugu to Kano will not refuel on the way. They can go 2000km without refueling, correspondingly a number of retail outlets would have to look for other jobs.
“Four years ago when we started the journey, we assembled all the petrol stations’ owners, we assembled all the banks in this country, we assembled all the truck owners, all the transport associations but they told us it would never happen. It will happen in less than six months from this moment.
“Even without government removing subsidy in fuel. CNG is N125 per LCM against N650 for petrol. You guys in Lagos are very lucky. I came from Kano. We have less disposable income than you guys in Lagos but we buy petrol for N620-N630 per litre and you guys buy at N585 per litre. So it is a fact that gas is where to go to.
“The powerful subsidy cartel had frustrated every single aspect of our work. They tell people, don’t mind them it would never happen. Government will never remove subsidy, that is exactly what they have been saying for three and half years until President Bola Tinubu did it on May 29. Even up till last week, some of them were still saying they might bring subsidy back.
So they have not given up. But government has to decide on what they want to do. But our point is that we have to sustain the programme.
“We have N250bn National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) fund domiciled in Central Bank so that if you want to import conversion kits, if you want to import related products, you can access this fund.
“We are trying to review that fund because the immediate past CBN Governor, when the fund was made available, we went to him. We said, “Mr. Godwin Emefiele, you are not an expert in this business, we are experts and we can tell you the kind of products you can make available and the funds you can make available. So the conditions you tie to the funds are so stringent that nobody would be able to access the funds and he didn’t listen to us.
“Of course nobody took it. So we are hoping that now that we have a new Minister of State in charge of Gas who just assumed office and we believe that government now is responsive to know that you do not make intervention funds for rice cultivation the same condition for CNG. It simply does not work. You cannot make the same intervention funds for fertilizer as you do for textile, it doesn’t work. So you have to have different products for different sectors. This is exactly what we said.
“We already have in our data base 9000 retail outlets where within the next 90 days we can rule out auto LPG and that will make the low-end people”