Nigeria has an abundance of natural gas yet it continues to import liquid fuel at high cost for its energy requirements, particularly for vehicle fuel. It is this paradox that was discussed when members of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) met in Lagos last week to focus on the prospect of converting the transportation sector to natural gas.
As reported by the Leadership news service, Mr. Sanjay Teotia, Managing Director, NIPCO , spoke to the topic “Current Challenges, the Value & the Future of Natural Gas as Transportation Fuel”. He explained to the gathering the many benefits of natural gas fuel, including lower emissions, superior safety, and greater economy when compared to conventional liquid fuels. He also covered renewable natural gas, which, when used as a vehicle fuel, is carbon neutral.
NIPCO, which has driven the natural gas fuel agenda in Nigeria for more than a decade, says government needs to bring about changes to policies and the regulatory framework to ensure the creation of a conducive investment environment. Programs and incentives are essential to build momentum.
The company says in essence that everybody wins when natural gas fuel uptake is increased: the government will reduce dependence on imported petroleum products, thereby limiting importation costs and reducing the fuel subsidy payment burden; it will support a domestic gas industry and increase employment; and it will lead to cleaner urban environments and reduction of public health costs.
Teotia says there are many examples of developing countries with similar problems to Nigeria that have successfully transitioned to natural gas for an alternative transportation fuel. He explained that natural gas for vehicles was first introduced by the Nigerian Gas Company in 1989, but more than a quarter century later there are only nine CNG fueling stations and about 4,000 natural gas vehicles (NGV) in operation. Now the country must act, he argues.