Oil marketers upbeat about N250bn NGEP intervention fund

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Oredo Integrated Gas Handling and LPG Dispensing Facility in Edo State.

As deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector gathers momentum, oil marketers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), are excited about the prospects of the N250 billion National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) intervention fund of the Federal Government.

This is coming as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources recently set up N250 billion intervention facility to help stimulate investment in the gas value chain.

Speaking at the Nigerian Compressed Natural Gas Webinar, organised by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) 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, MOMAN Chairman, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, in his presentation, entitled Deepening the Use of LPG, said there should be cheaper and cleaner alternatives to petrol and diesel for Nigerians in the wake of the deregulation policy.

He hinted that the Association was in full support of the gas initiatives of the Federal Government and the autogas market to give Nigerians cleaner and greener alternatives to power their automobiles, homes and other equipment.

“The idea of deepening the use of gas comes at a very auspicious time as we grapple with increasing petrol prices due to the deregulation of the downstream sector and heightened sensitization about climate change.’’

According to him, NGEP has further engaged stakeholders across the energy value chain to push government’s gas agenda following its recent stakeholders consultative webinar with MOMAN and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN).

“In essence, 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.”

In his address, Chairman, OTL Africa Downstream, Mr Emeka Akabogu commended the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources for authorising the co-location of autogas facilities in filling stations and urged the NNPC Retail Limited to expedite action by pioneering the initiative in the country.

Akabogu added that the government must break away from its practices of the past by focusing on policies, regulations and establishing a legal framework, instead of dabbling into operations.

Chairman, National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), Mohammed Ibrahim, in his presentation described gas as a leveller for economic stability and argued that its integration into Nigeria’s energy mix will cushion the effects of deregulation and attract new investments.

Mohammed, who was represented by the National Program Manager in charge of CNG in the NGEP, Dr Abner Ishaku, noted that on January 16, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, inaugurated the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) committee as a mechanism to boost domestic utilisation of natural gas in the short and medium-term.

As part of the programme, the Autogas and Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) sub-committee was constituted to drive the adoption of autogas/NGVs as an alternative fuel in Nigeria and key into the global shift from crude oil to gas.

Also speaking at the Webinar, Programme Executive at Axxela, Mr Myke Oseh outlined the value proposition of the NGEP to include elimination of petroleum products price volatility, protection of trasnport infrastructure from external shocks and promote environmentally friendly fuels.

Oseh added that expansion of gas utilization in Nigieria will reform the market structure, create new jobs and skills, attract new investment and save foreign exchange.

He urged government to define a clear policy directive aimed at achieving 25 per cent CNG mix as trasnport fuel in Nigeria by 2025. Oseh suggested that zero per cent Customs duty on CNG and NGV accessories, as well as tax waivers were necessary to jumpstart the sector.

Oseh further advised operators to invest in emerging opportunities such as gas processing and distribution infrastructure, training and certification, building CNG stations and conversion of vehicles to autogas power.

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