The Federal Government is working towards the production of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel to the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol this year.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva that revealed this in an interview, said that although the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) had made several trips to the National Assembly without translating into law, this year shall be its last trip to the federal lawmakers.
He based his hope in the passage of the bill on the renewed relationship between the legislature and the executive. It was noted that the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence in the first quarter of 2020.
Also slated for commencement this year, according to him, is the construction of the Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano gas pipeline project. The project, which is expected to take gas from the Niger Delta to Kano, is also targeted at feeding the industries in the area with gas.
He lamented that Nigeria is a very rich gas country, yet it has the lowest Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) penetration in the world. The minister said that the government is working to ensure LPG penetration this year. Besides, he revealed that Nigeria has never looked for gas except the one it found from oil production. Now, according to him, the federal government is to begin gas exploration.
He said “The gas sector will definitely grow. Nigeria is described as a gas territory with oil in it. Unfortunately, we have not taken advantage of our gas resources. All the gas we have found in Nigeria has been found while looking for oil not looking for gas. “We are going to have some targeted exploration for gas. And we also want the people of Nigeria to have an alternative to PMS. We want to see how gas can be converted to CNG,
“And also we are trying to improve the LPG penetration. Unfortunately, Nigeria has the lowest LPG penetration in the world. We are very rich in gas. This year we are going to focus on this area.” Stressing that most nations are now exiting fossil fuel for renewable energy as gas, he confirmed that Nigeria was still far from joining the race for renewable energy utilization.
Meanwhile, the minister said that at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Nigeria was able to add its voice to the global discussion of transition to renewable energy. He said that “Gas is a lesser source of carbon emission and we have abundant gas resource. So also the world has to take us into account of its discussion in the transition to renewables. It is also in those kinds of forum that you can put our point of view forward.”
Asked to state what he has achieved so far in office as a minister, Sylva said that he is already in the process of rejigging the PIB. He noted that the sector under his watch has been able to pass the Deep Offshore Amendment Bill.
He added that “We have also been able to superintendent over the discovery of oil in the North East. The evaluation is ongoing but oil has been discovered in the North East. We have been able to take FID on Train 7. These are what have happened and we are very ready to move on this year.”