**NNPC targets 1m vehicles by end of 2021
Federal Government will between now and 2021 convert one million vehicles free of charge for motorists willing to switch their engines to Compressed Natural Gas (CNS) in place of petrol.
The government says this reduce the consumption of petrol and cushion the impact on Nigerians now that subsidy on the product has been removed.
President Muhammadu Buhari who unveiled the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Auto-gas Roll-out Initiative, Tuesday in Abuja called on Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to petrol.
Speaking at the launch which he performed virtually from the Presidential Villa, Buhari also appreciated Nigerians for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad economic challenges, which his administration is working to surmount.
He said: “Let me express my deep appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, and Organized Labour for its maturity and patriotism as we collectively navigate these global economic and other challenges.
“It is no longer news that the vast Natural Gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with has hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilization.
“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.”
The President said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications, to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people”, he stated.
The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I therefore encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.’’
In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said the Ministry is focusing on development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.
He added that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari informed that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly PMS, insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.
He added that the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.
He said NNPC will by making facilities available at all its retail outlets across the country to convert vehicles to gas usage free of charge.
He said the target is to have at least a million vehicles converted by the end of 2021.
“To support this effort, NNPC is providing free conversion service in some selected NNPC retail stations to assist interested motorists switch from PMS to autogas, especially in areas with existing autogas service stations in the Federal Capital territory, Kaduna, Kano, Ogun, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states
“NNPC is expanding this initiative to all NNPC retail stations across the nation while assuring motorists of steady availability of autogas at competitive prices”.
He added: “Under your leadership the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is working towards the implementation of the palliatives measures agreed with the organised labour. Today you will be launching five powered gas transit buses, and 10 converted buses for some of our agencies and with the continued agreement that we will extend this to a million cars by the end of 2021”.
The highlight of the event was the handing over of converted 10 mass transit buses to labour unions by Chief Sylva.