Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the Federal Government to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the country.
Obasanjo made the call during a courtesy visit by the management of NIPCO Plc to his Hilltop Estate in Abeokuta, on the need by the the Federal Government to promote use of CNG as a vehicular fuel.
The former President said that the signing of the idea during his tenure in 2006, to use CNG, was in a bid to promote cleaner environment and to develop gas as a vehicular source of fuel.
“If other government had promoted the use of LPG and CNG in Nigeria, half of the country’s vehicles would have been converted to gas.
“The essence is to provide alternative to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol at a reduced cost and to boost national socio-economic growth,’’ he said.
Obasanjo said that aside the economic gains, CNG targeted reduction of unfriendly automobile emissions and exposure of Nigerians to the innovation of powering vehicles on gas.
The Managing Director, NIPCO Plc, Mr Venkataraman Venkatapathy, said that Nigeria would have saved government over two billion dollars yearly, if the use of CNG is promoted in Nigeria.
He said that globally, the natural gas industry was increasing its focus and efforts to support natural gas transport.
Venkatapathy said that the CNG project was between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and NIPCO, through a joint-venture scheme called Green Gas Ltd.
He explained that the initiative, which is the first of its kind in West Africa, is ushering in a new era of vehicles running on the CNG in Nigeria with its attendant benefits.
He said that CNG “is a superior auto fuel alternation to liquid fuels, mainly petrol and diesel specifically for countries like Nigeria which is blessed with abundant availability of natural gas remains untapped.’’
According to him, to replace 20 per cent of current petrol consumption of Nigeria, Natural gas required is less than five per cent of the total domestic gas consumed currently and less than one percent of the current gas production.
Venkatapathy gave some statistic from Benin City, that over 4,000 vehicles run on CNG which resulted in replacing 20 million litres of petrol from 2012 to 2015 and which also saved over nine million dollars for Nigeria.
The managing director said that CNG had more benefits than petrol, adding that some of the benefit include low operating costs, lower maintenance costs and it reduces harmful vehicle emissions that cause local air pollution.
He said that on mile to mile basis, CNG would be cheaper than petrol by over 50 per cent and as compared to Diesel (on dual fuel mode), it would be over 45 per cent cheaper.
Meanwhile, some motorists plying Lagos-Ibadan Expressway described CNG powered vehicles as economical, safer, flexible and eco-friendly.
A commercial motorist, Mr Kazeem Odunayo, said that the conversion of his vehicle to CNG in early 2015, had saved him money.
Another commercial vehicle operator, Mr Sunday Adeyemi, said that most of the commercial vehicles operating between Lagos and Ibadan had converted to CNG because of its availability and the economy of scale.