Following the deregulation of Petroleum products like the AGO, PMS and others and the attendant increase in pump prices of these products, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources is looking for a way to increase the availability of natural gas in the country for private and public use which experts say is more economical, safer and eco friendly.
To achieve this, the Federal Government of Nigeria led by the President, Muhammadu Buhari on 1st of December, launched the National Auto-Gas Scheme in Abuja, aimed at encouraging people to increase the use of gas in the country.
That was after the Minister of Petroleum Resources(state), Chief Timipre Sylva had on 16th January this year inaugurated the Natural Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), committee with the objective of re-enforcing and expanding domestic gas use and stimulation of demand in the country.
As a follow-up, the Government of Anambra State on Thursday, at the Banquet Hall of Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu Lake Hotel, Anaocha Council Area, hosted a consultative forum on Natural Gas Expansion Programme with the major players in the oil and gas industry, the academia and others.
In his opening remarks, the representative of the Minister and Chairman of the NGEP, Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim noted that because of the unbearable prices of deregulated petroleum products in the country and the efficiency of natural gas, the programme is aimed at sensitizing Nigerians on the numerous benefits of using gas.
“Nigeria is not an oil-producing country. We are an oil-exporting country and because of that, prices of our petroleum products will always be high. None of the refineries is working so we import virtually everything, including the kerosene and other products we use.
“Anambra is the first state to host the forum and roll out the gas expansion programme. It is our hope that it becomes the first to fully realise it in Nigeria,” Ibrahim said.
Dr. Ibrahim noted that if Nigerians start using gas, about sixty percent of petroleum products costs will be slashed off government expenses and about 20m jobs with be created through auto conversion, kit factory and gas supply chain and services or indirect jobs.
Declaring the forum open, the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke appreciated the Special Adviser, SPAD to Gov. Obiano on Legal and Petroleum Matters, Barrister Pat Igwebuike for her doggedness in bringing about the programme in state.
He commended the NGEP committee for choosing Anambra as their first state forum and for exploring other ways of improving the human society.
“Anambra is blessed with huge reserve of natural gas. With what you’ve demonstrated, Anambra especially the traders in Onitsha can convert their tiger generating sets from using PMS to liquefied natural gas with small amount of money which is more efficient and eco friendly.
“Nnewi is home to a lot of industries in the state. The people can manufacture anything, but the problem has always been power. The Governor is partnering the NIPP for the installation of injection substations in the state, but these are not enough according to our energy needs. Governor Obiano graciously made me in-charge of industries in the state and we are working with some companies like INNOSON on the use of solar and other forms of renewable energy,” he said.
While noting that the idea of using gas by everyone is apt, the Deputy Governor assured that the state will do everything possible to see that the programme takes off, especially with the abundance of gas in parts of the state.
The ceremony was graced by top government functionaries as well as key players in the Oil and Gas sector while highpoints of the programme were the official opening of the forum and expo stand visits by the Deputy Governor and other dignitaries.