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How Your Cars, Generators can use Natural Gas


Chinazor Megbolu    |    

Recently, the Federal Government initiated the process of converting Nigerian cars to natural gas usage. 

This directive by government through most of its agencies is geared towards making the initiative a success.

 The agencies went steps further to guide thousands of fuel retail outlets in the country to install gas dispensing machines in a bid to use it refill vehicle tanks as an alternative to petrol.

On September 11, 2020 in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Timipre Sylvia reaffirmed Federal Government stand by declaring that gas is the new petrol for Nigerian cars.

He revealed that Nigerians can now convert their cars using petrol to gas, which is a cheaper alternative with effect from October 2020.

The Minister also disclosed that the initiative is meant to give the deregulation a human face.

“To give it (deregulation) a human face, we are introducing an alternative fuel. We are giving autogas. Gas will now become fuel for our cars. This programme will be rolled out within the next month. 

“So, if you go to a filling station and you convert your car to dual capability or dual fuel, then you drive into a typical filling station, you will find gas liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), you find compressed natural gas (CNG) and natural liquefied gas (NLG) being sold.

“So, if you look at the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) versus the price of gas and you think that gas is cheaper, which of course, it is going to be cheaper,” he said. 

Sylvia also noted that gas will even be cheaper than PMS as it is today, adding that the federal government is also giving an alternative to ordinary Nigerians.

Furthermore, the Minister during a ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) also maintained that the drive to achieve the project for the benefit of Nigerian citizenry has made the federal government not to rest on its oars until  cars and generators are converted to run on gas from October 2020.

While stating that cars are capable of running on both gas and petrol, he noted the idea would also reduce carbon emissions as well as the demand for petrol.

“The alternative we are now introducing is gas, which is definitely going to be cheaper than the subsidised rate of PMS. So, what we are trying to encourage Nigerians to do now is to convert their cars to dual fuel.

“That means your car can use either gas or petrol and that will be done for free because the government is going to ensure that you are able to convert your vehicles for free.

“And when you convert your car for free, you go to the filling station, you see the price of PMS, you see the price of gas, you can decide to buy LPG or CNG,  you can decide to buy LNG. These are all going to be available and we are going to have a roll out plan for this within October.

“Nigerians will have alternatives. It is like introducing a toll on the roads. When you introduce a tollgate, you are expected and required by law to also create an alternative. So, we are also creating that alternative so that you can go to buy gas.”

Sylva, however, maintained that a similar pilot scheme was launched with commercial tricycles in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which they converted to gas and it was successful.

It didn’t stop there, generators will also receive such boost as well as the Minister stressed the initiative would be extended to small capacity generators.

Sylvia further added that retail outlets owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would begin to sell gas to vehicles first before others.

On what Nigerians stand to benefit from the free initiative, the Minister said: “your car should be in a fairly good condition. That is the only condition to be met because if your car is not in a very good condition, I don’t know how it is going to convert.

“We are already in discussion with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and they are already very happy”.

Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), in making sure retail outlets comply with the directive, ordered about 9,000 filling stations across the country, to start the installation of facilities for gas products. 

The oil and gas Industry regulator explained that the move is expected to improve the utilisation of LPG, CNG, LNG, and Autogas as an alternative fuel for Nigerians.
Nigeria’s DPR ordered last week 9,000 petrol stations to install natural gas fuelling equipment to boost the share of natural gas in transport.

Moreover, the Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Mele Kyari few days back on a live television programme said the agency is committed to supporting the ongoing initiatives by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to provide alternate energy source to Nigerians through activation of CNG filling stations for motorists across the country.

“National Oil Company has already keyed into the gas penetration agenda as championed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Kyari said.

He pointed out that NNPC will continue to work with other stakeholders in the industry to provide viable alternatives to petrol in Nigeria with a focus on cleaner and cheaper sources of fuel.

He hinted that the project is part of federal government’s National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), which aims at giving customers a cheaper and cleaner alternative to petrol for transportation.

Additionally, NIPCO Plc, another federal government agency, recently claimed they have already converted total number  of 5,600 vehicles in Nigeria to use CNG.

The organisation said it did so as one of its efforts at providing access and alternative to motorist to power their automobiles.

The Managing Director, Nipco, Mr. Sanjay Teotia,  who said this during the 11th International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) in Abuja recently, noted the conversion of the 5,600 vehicles were done at the company’s workshops in Benin, Edo State and Ibafo, Ogun State.

Teotia further stressed that the gas sector of the economy has gone through series of legislations including the Gas Master Plan aimed primarily at addressing some of the challenges by way of proffering solutions to boost the economy.

“Nipco has since 2009 when it diversified into gas being supporting government efforts to harness the nation’s gas resources through massive investment in pipelines infrastructure and construction of stations for both LPG & CNG across the nation. 

“We have inaugurated nine CNG stations and a compression station to aid natural gas access and utilisation across the country.

“With the inauguration of the compression station at Ibafo in 2016 with a total capacity of 300.000 SCMD, gas is now being transported in cascades to other areas not linked with pipelines’ across the country.

“The diversification of the company’s operations in natural gas has created lots of employment opportunities for Nigerian technicians and thus aiding local content in the industry.

“Nipco was able to put to use local content through a consistent and pragmatic policy in the area of human capital development, which had even attracted the eulogy of the National Content Development Management Board (NCDMB), and other stakeholders especially in gas projects,” Teotia said.

Some experts, Mr. Adewale Adegoriola and Mr. Ibrahim Musa Suleiman in a research project concerning the gas conversion initiative, tagged ‘Adopting Gas Automobile Fuels (LPG & CNG) into the Nigerian Transportation System’ stated that the use of CNG and LPG as auto fuel in Nigeria shows benefits with regards to efficiency and environmental friendliness for economic advantage.

According to them; “demand for natural gas is likely to overtake other fossil fuels due to its availability, accessibility, versatility and cleanliness. 
“This research shows that adopting gas automobile fuels (LPG & CNG) as an automotive fuel has few barriers but in the long run is very viable in terms of emissions of Greenhouse gases to the environment and financially economical. 

“From the study, we suggest that policies and incentives would be helpful for the implementation of auto-gas as a transport fuel with regards to fiscal and regulatory such as; excise-duty exemption or rebate, grants/tax credits for gas fueling vehicles conversion/acquisition, vehicle sales-tax exemption or income/profit tax credit and more”.

Both researchers, however, buttressed that If auto-gas for automotive fuel is considered and implemented in the nation’s transportation system, it will move the Nigerian fuel market from an inelastic feature to an elastic feature.

“Installation Diagram of LPG conversion kit. Some of the components needed for conversion include; fuel tank, regulator, fuel rails, adapter, plugs, new fueling computer and LPG injectors. 

“The penetration of auto gas into the market largely depends on how competitive the fuel is against gasoline and diesel (i.e. how financially attractive it is for an end user to switch to gas fuels).

” It also largely depends on the cost of converting the vehicle and the pump price of Auto gas relative to diesel and gasoline. 

“Since converting a vehicle to run on auto gas involves upfront capital expenditure (Depending on which style of system is fitted, installation costs average around $2,500 for a basic vapor mixer to $4,500 for a sequential injection system) and some minor inconvenience. “The owner needs to be compensated through lower running costs, of which fuel is the most important. 

“The time it takes for the savings in running costs to offset the capital cost (the payback period) depends on the usage of the vehicle, i.e. the average distance travelled monthly or annually. 

“Critical to the payback period, is the extent to which government incentives lower the initial expenditure (through subsidies) and fuel costs (through favorable taxation). 

“In practice, the payback period generally has to be less than two to three years to encourage commercial vehicle owners to switch; private individuals often demand an even quicker return on their investment. 
“The absolute level of tax on Auto gas matters less than the how high it is in absolute terms relative to conventional fuels, as that is what helps determine the size of the financial saving that can be made from switching to Auto gas,” Adegoriola and Suleiman said.
A chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Anthony Anakebe during a chat in his office in Lagos said the development and initiative is a welcome one because the country has all it takes to become great.

“The main thing is encouragement from Government. Nigeria has the wherewithal to become great.
” This country has in whatever sector all it takes to be great. 
“It’s just a question of our leaders. If only they can put heads together, Nigeria can blossom. There are so many untapped mineral resources everywhere but the problem is that the country is not well organised.

“You are talking of gas conversion, this Innoson Motors, by now like when General Yakubu Gowon was the Head of State, said only Peugeot vehicles manufactured in Nigeria will Government officials use and he maintained it,” he said.

Anakebe also hinted that Government should stop the importation of used vehicles into the country.

According to him; “all you see everywhere is damaged tokunbo vehicles. Why are they bringing in foreign goods instead of encouraging locally manufactured ones? It will be a great advantage to Nigeria if the company is encouraged.

“The gas conversion will be of great advantage to the nation now that the whole world is in shambles and every country is trying to be self dependent. If we don’t put ourselves together to be self dependent, the generation coming will suffer it”.

With the initiative looking so laudable and impressive, given the ways experts and majority of the citizenry applauded it, one hope its not burgled by saboteurs. The world waits as it kicks off  on October 2020.

© 2020, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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