The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva has revealed that the Federal Government is also launching initiatives to convert cars to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) that will give Nigerians alternative fuel choices.
The Minister stated Federal Government will in October inaugurate the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for motorist as alternative to use of petrol in the country.
Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, made this known while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Compressed Natural Gas (methane stored at high pressure) is fuel that can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and liquefied petroleum gas.
Chief Sylva said that introduction of CNG, LPG and others would help to reduce the impact of the high cost of premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol on Nigerians.
He said that since the Federal Government was no longer in the business of fixing the price of petroleum products, its focus was to protect the interest of Nigerians.
He noted that CNG and LPG was cheaper, cleaner and globally accepted.
His words; “the solution to reduce the pains with increase in petrol is to create another source that is cheaper, cleaner and global friendly.
“Introducing LPG, CNG is creating a toll gate and alternative route for people that may not be comfortable to have a choice.
“The introduction of the new products will be cheaper and better, in the end Nigerians will be happy for it,” he said.
On how it will be rolled out across the country, he said that all the Nigerian National Petroleum corporation (NNPC) petrol stations would be used for the project.
He stated that an LPG and CNG skid to dispensed the products would be fixed in all the NNPC stations across the country.
He said some private marketers had also requested to be admitted in the programme.
“Going forward, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will request marketers to upgrade their station to accommodate LPG and CNG or their licenses will not be reviewed,” he declared.
Sylva said that the introduction of the alternative products would help in creating jobs, especially with conversion of cars with LPG and CNG kits.
He said that a company had approached Nigeria for establishment of conversion centre in the country.
“I believe that with time, people will start importing cars that use LPG, CNG among others. Conversion of cars to use the products will be for a few period,” he added
Chief Sylva at the briefing stated that the country is “no longer in the business of fixing” fuel prices.
He said that Nigeria had been spending 1 trillion naira ($2.63 billion) a year subsidising petrol prices but the global oil price crash had made removing the subsidies “inevitable”.
His words “It is about the survival of our country, the economic survival,” he said. “There are certain things that the country can ill-afford at this time.”
The Petroleum Minister said his ministry would become an “umpire” rather a price-setter and that prices would now fluctuate freely with international markets.
He added : “Our duty now is to ensure the public is not cheated”.
The Federal Government had in March, announced a new pricing mechanism that it said would maintain its control, but allow prices to move with the market and eliminate subsidies.
On Wednesday, Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC) set its ex-depot price for premium motor spirit at 151.56 naira a litre, which made the pump prices above the previous rate of 145 naira a litre.
Sylva said private importers could now compete with PPMC and sell fuel at other prices.
He however stated that if PPMC sets its price below market rate, NNPC would continue to remain the primary supplier since price caps had previously made it unprofitable to import fuel, and NNPC had been importing more than 90% of Nigeria’s gasoline.
He also stated that the nation was producing 1.412 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and that Its output has been closely watched for compliance with an OPEC-led supply cut agreement