Promoting cleaner energy through government’s LPG penetration plan
Nigeria is a gas hub producing over 2 million metric tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). But total penetration of LPG, otherwise called cooking gas, remained at 11 per cent. This is coming at a time when use of traditional energy sources such as firewood and charcoal threaten the environment and human life.
The National Conservative Agency had stated that Nigeria is emitting about 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from different traditional energy sources such as kerosene, burning of charcoal and others sources even as the country’s deforestation rate stands at about 67 per cent. This has reportedly led to the loss of about 670,000 hectares of primary forest and other living organisms that depend rainforest for survival.
Similarly, while the health of women is particularly endangered by constant exposure to smote from firewood, charcoal and the processes through which such energy sources are retrieved, 150,000 women and children in Nigeria are reportedly affected by indoor air pollution and contributed to lead-causes of death.
Indeed, while number of out-school girl-child has been on the rise, the search for firewood has been listed as a key factor against such development, considering that children and girl child as well as women lose considerable man-hour in the search for energy sources.
Being a signatory to the Paris treaty on reduction of global warming, Nigeria is mandated to reduce green house gases by at least 20 per cent by 2030. If properly implemented, the Federal Government’s LPG policy, which aimed at boosting cooking gas penetration and sanitising the sub-sector would therefore go a long way in promoting use of cleaner sources of energy.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had earlier disclosed that the plan would include massive roll out of a somewhat free gas cylinder across all local governments in the country, mandating oil and gas firms, who are operating in the downstream sector to include gas retail stations in outlets across communities, introduce autogas, which would enable conversion of cars from regular gasoline to gas engines, thereby reducing dependence on traditional fuels such as petrol, kerosene and others.
Kachikwu noted that there was need to deepen the use of LPG across the country, promote the issue of clean energy as well as creating employment opportunities through the policy
The minister explained that the regulation would increase cooking gas selling points across the country by about 10,000, stating that the Federal Government is already working with stakeholders across the LPG value chain, and had set a target to build at least one gas filling plants across all the 774 local government areas in the country within the next three years.
“We are working with the LPG cylinder manufacturers. We are giving them strong presidential backed incentives to enable them to produce LPG cylinders in this country. About four of them are getting facilities from the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCMBD, through the $200 million facility we have. They are getting import exemption for materials to be assembled for the plants.”
“Once you do that, we also expect them to assemble them around the over 700 local government areas in the country. We are targeting that by the next one or two years, every local government will have gas filling plants.
“We are also investing on setting up virtual gas pipeline. Soon, the DPR would issue a guideline whereby all filling stations would be required to set up gas filling plants in all petrol stations,” Kachikwu said.
Senior Special Adviser to Kachikwu on Downstream, Brenda Ataga said government is primarily committed to meeting to reducing environmental issues as part of measures to meet the Paris agreement, reduce national through a 40 per cent fuel switching nationwide, especially in the areas of domestic cooking, auto gas, power generation.
“Our plan with LPG is to create about 500,000 jobs. What we are doing is revising the LPG ecosystem to give opportunity for youth and women to be financially included in the retail of LPG and in doing that we have launched a programme called micro distribution centres, that’s what we launched with the army,” Ataga said.
According to her, the micro distribution centres are supposed to replace illegal and unsafe practises and standardise reselling of gas as natural kerosene and firewood sellers be converted to LPG resellers in their own vicinities.
She disclosed that about five cylinder manufacturing plants are being set up with some already running.
Ataga said: “We have already seen a boost of local competency with the pilot we have done through the Armed forces whereby everything was made in Nigeria from the cylinder to the racks and kiosks. We had fibre glass kiosks made in Nigeria, previously, they were imported from South Africa. We have a galvanised steel racks with anti-rust made in Nigeria. So nothing had been imported to support this programme. This is to boost our local manufacturing capacity, support our economic development and growth.”
She noted that government is currently working on changing the behavioural approach towards the use of cooking by addressing the safety concerns.
Ataga equally disclosed that a stakeholder engagement is currently ongoing to introduce reticulation in the country building codes to enable the construction of gas infrastructure along with housing designs.
“But the first thing is to clean up the street and the next is to go to urban centres. We have spoken with those concerned in this regard, including the minister of Power, Works and Housing. He is very much interested in reticulation. We have identified sites that we would run the pilot project for reticulation, whereby there’s a gas facility in the estate and everything is piped to the rooms,” she added.
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai had earlier said that when the projects fully come on stream with the building of micro distribution centres for LPG across military barracks and cantonments, the military would eliminate the sale of cooking gas by the roadside in all army barracks and formations nationwide.
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