July 23, 2008
Use of compressed natural gas for vehicles to save Nigeria N654b yearlyBy Yetunde Ebosele
WITH every country in the world trying to phase out toxic emission, which has been largely said to be the cause of global warming, the country may be on the brake of saving about N654 billion yearly from the use of compressed natural gas.
This figure represents 40 per cent of the estimated N1.6 trillion spent by Nigerians on diesel and petrol yearly to run vehicles and industrial machineries.
The country has an estimated five million registered vehicles that consume about 40 million litres of PMS sold at N70 per litre and 12 million litres of diesel sold at N140 per litre daily.
This is the view of foreign and local experts who gathered recently in Lagos at an international conference and exhibition on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) organised by Gas Distribution Services Limited (GDSL) and AFV International of the United States.
Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina to Nigeria, Bernando Fernandez Da Silva, tasked the country on the need to use CNG to power vehicles and machineries, stressing that aside cost savings, it also ensures safer and cleaner Nigeria.
He disclosed that his country is leading other countries in the world in the use of natural gas vehicles with about 1.2 million vehicles, running on gas, while Brazil and Pakistan followed with 600,000 and 540,000 vehicles, respectively.
In his own address, the President International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles (IANGV), Richard Kolodziej, in his address on the international perspective on the use of natural gas vehicles advised Nigeria to learn from the experience of other countries.
“The situation in every country is different. No two countries are the same, but any challenge faced by one country has been successfully dealt with in another country. I urge you to learn from the experience of others,” he said. Kolodziej gave an assurance that Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) are safer than petroleum vehicles, adding that NGVs are also replacing petroleum vehicles in Egypt and South America.
The IANGV president, who is also the president of NGVs for America called on the Federal Government to make NGV ownership and use economically attractive by making it easy for private sector participation.
Also speaking at the event, Managing Director of Nigerian Gas Company Limited, (NGC), Voka Mukoro, who was represented by Sam Ndukwe, manager, Planning Budget and Information Technology, said the five million vehicles in the country have a yearly growth rate of 30,000 and fuel consumption growth rate of 12 per cent.
Mukoro, who noted that the price of PMS rose by 69 per cent between 1999 and 2007 also stated that with the international price of $134 per barrel, the price of PMS may hit NIOO per litre in the next review by 2009.
The NGC boss said Nigerians may face untold hardship if urgent steps are not taken to encourage the use of natural gas to run vehicles, adding that NGC has successfully converted 52 vehicles to use natural gas. Speaking on the safety of this arrangement, Mukoro said the gas cylinders are solid cylinders, which have no joints.
“We have cases when vehicles are completely burnt in accidents but the CNG cylinder and the CNG inside are intact,” Mukoro said. He disclosed that the NGC had issued licences to three prominent companies to provide CNG in Lagos, Benin and Abuja, adding that his company would partner interested investors to facilitate all required statutory approvals for speedy establishment of CNG facilities.
Government supports favourable gas price, technology and affordability of road worthy vehicles area Ome of the enablers for CNG development in Nigeria.
But the Managing Director of Gas Distribution Services Limited (GDSL), Mr. Okwudili Obi, lamented that the Escravos gas pipeline and the line that runs to Ajaokuta are grossly inadequate for the entire country.
The GDSL boss said part of the mission of his company is to make gas accessible to companies and regions that are desirable of gas but are denied the commodity due to lack of gas pipeline.
Obi stated that his company utilises virtual pipeline technology, ‘which does not require the use of gas pipeline.
According to him, GDSL is working with leading virtual technology giants such as Galileo of Argentina, ITG of America and AFV International also from America.