‘Deregulation, new gas policies will boost refining capacity’

  • Sep 18, 2020
  • The Nation

Nigeria can develop into a refining hub for West and Central Africa and become a net exporter of refined products, following government’s new policies on alternative energy, total deregulation/liberalisation of the petroleum downstream sector, and the coming on stream of new modular refineries, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has said.

Its Chairman, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, also said Nigeria could go big on alternative energies such as gas and solar energy, adding that the country must gird its loins to ensure that these green alternative energy sources were strategically developed and their usage deepened across the country for the benefit of Nigerians.

He said there must be cheaper and cleaner alternatives to petrol and diesel available to the public, especially as full deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector has commenced.

He hinted that the association was supporting the gas initiatives of the Federal Government and keying into the auto gas space to give Nigerians a cleaner and greener alternative to power their autos, homes and other equipment.

Oyebanji said: “The idea of deepening the use of gas comes at a very auspicious time as we grapple with increasing (PMS) petrol prices due to the deregulation of the downstream sector.”

The marketers said, in support of the government’s new energy strategy, they organised the Nigerian Compressed Natural Gas Webinar, in collaboration with Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream and ARS Conference Services, with key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in attendance.

The event unveiled gas as a cheaper and greener replacement fuel for automobiles and dissected the spectrum of its untapped potential across the downstream energy value chain, spelling out opportunities for the government, investors, and consumers.

They also said the webinar reinforced the government’s commitment to the gas deployment strategy, addressed issues around policy framework, infrastructure, sustainability, and usability.

According to the marketers, the need to develop CNG (compressed natural gas), LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and LNG (liquefied natural gas) as alternatives to petrol and other fuels has never been more critical, especially with the recovering crude oil prices and the rising demand for refined products as we approach the winter months in Europe.

“Using other countries where gas has been adopted and integrated as an alternative auto fuel as case studies, gas requires government support and interventions to take root. The gas value chain is awash with opportunities for new investment, skills development, and enhancement of our local public transportation infrastructure. Clear policy directives and legislative framework aimed at generating demand, as well as Customs duty and tax waivers will be required and fast-tracked to jumpstart the sector and attract investment into the gas space,” MOMAN said.

The National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) has further engaged stakeholders across the energy value chain to push the government’s gas agenda following its stakeholders’consultative webinar in association with MOMAN and DAPPMAN.

“In essence, the NGEP is bringing together all relevant government agencies to ensure that the gas space is business-friendly and conducive enough to encourage new investors into the sector. Nigeria, being a gas country must be able to benefit locally from its abundant gas reserves and transfer the advantages to the consumer,” he said.

At the webinar, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, Chairman, NGEP, also said the promotion of gas as replacement fuel will save Nigeria the much-needed foreign exchange expended on refined petroleum products import.

He said: “The NGEP is a programme put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in furtherance of the domestic gas expansion programme of the current administration.

The programme is designed to reinforce and expand domestic gas supply and stimulate demand in the country through the effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.

The deliverables of the programme include the development of a strong domestic gas-based economy by leveraging on the nation’s abundant gas potential.”