Auto Gas: NNPC To Provide Free Conversion Services To Motorists

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has announced plans to provide free services that would enable motorists convert their vehicles from the use of petrol to gas.

Speaking during the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme in Abuja on Tuesday, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, said the transition from petrol to gas for automobiles had continued to gain acceptance across the world due to the lower cost of gas and its cleaner impact on the environment.

Kyari said the corporation would expand the initiative to all NNPC stations across the nation and assured motorists of steady availability of auto gas at competitive prices.

He said, “In support this effort, the NNPC will provide free conversion services in some selected retail stations to help interested motorists switch to motor gas, especially in areas with existing motor gas service stations in the FCT, Kaduna, Kwara, Kogi, Oyo, Lagos, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

“The Ministry of Petroleum is working towards the implementation of the palliative measure agreed upon with the organised labour.

“Today, we will be launching five gas powered transit buses and 10 converted buses for some of our agencies and with the continued agreement that we will extend it to one million cars by the end of 2021.”

The GMD said from 2016 to 2019, the nation spent over N3tn to subsidise the pump price of petroleum products, particularly the PMS, while market forces continued to keep the cost of supply high.

The situation, according to him, has deprived the nation of its anticipated prosperity as the resources which should have been deployed towards infrastructure, economy development, and job generation were depleted by the subsidy regime.

Kyari said, “The subsidy regime did not benefit Nigerians, coupled with the collapse of the global economy due to the impact of COVID-19. The country lacks the resources required to sustain the subsidy regime.”

“In March 2020, we brought into effect the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, which brought an end to fuel subsidy in the country.”

He said that the Federal Government initiated the transition to cheaper gas as a cheaper alternative to petrol in order to deepen domestic gas utilisation and also tap the benefits of deregulation.

President Mohammadu Buhari in in a virtual address at event directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to roll out gas powered mass transit busses to ease the high cost of transportation caused by the recent increases in fuel price.

Buhari said that the handover of the CNG-powered mass transport buses to the Nigerian Labour Congress was part of the agreement reached with labour during negotiations and in recognition of the role the organised labour played in the quest to bring relief to ordinary Nigerians.

The President, noting that the auto gas initiative will lead to economic growth and development of the country, urged Nigerians to embrace gas as an alternative to petrol considering the fact that the country had huge gas reserves.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said harnessing natural gas resources represented a long term development strategy to grow the national economy in real terms.

According to the minister, the Gas Expansion Programme is a mechanism to boost utilisation of natural gas in the short and medium terms, which is also part of the Federal Government’s bid to key into the global shift from crude oil to gas and other renewable sources of energy.

Sylva said, “The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has begun implementation of this initiative to drive home Mr President’s directive targeted at implementing programmes that are focused on improving the lives of citizens, creating jobs, building indigenous technical expertise, and stimulating other sectors of the economy.”

The minister said that as part of the roll out strategy, selected stations across the 36 states and the FCT would start the installation of facilities for gas conversion capabilities.

He said, “The availability of auto gas as an alternative fuel will afford Nigerians cheaper, cleaner and additional sources of fuel, cheaper than the price of PMS, cleaner for the environment and better for automobiles and other engines.

“The shift to gas underscores the president’s determination in the development of Nigeria’s vast gas resources. Under the directive of the president, we will continue to strengthen the gas value chain as it is important to the economy of the nation.”

He added that the initiative was envisaged to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition, enhance technology transfer and grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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