Total harps on LPG utilisation in Nigeria
Total Nigeria Plc has emphasised the need for Nigeria to marshal all necessary mechanisms to optimally exploit the potentials in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market.
The company however expressed its commitment to continue to invest massively in the sector and expand its gas retail outlets across the country.
The Commercial Communications Manager, Total, Tamunosaki Edunro, who disclosed this to The Guardian after the grand finale ceremony of the Knorr Taste Quest competition in Lagos, said the company is currently engaged in massive enlightenment campaign to woo Nigerians to convert to the clean and environmental friendly fuel.
She applauded the Unilever Plc, makers of Knorr cube for the cooking quest initiative, describing the partnership as part of Total’s drive to ensure that both domestic and commercial cooking are made to be more convenient and pleasurable for Nigerians.
The competition, which surprisingly had men as the finalist was won by Davies Obiekea. The kitchen was fuelled by Total gas throughout the programme.
To enhance optimal utilization of LPG in Nigeria, Edunro said Total Nigeria is working on some projects such as; injection of safe and affordable cylinders into the market.
This is done through the cylinder deposit scheme where customers don’t have to pay for a cylinder but rather make a refundable deposit for a brand new cylinder and at every cylinder exchange for refill; a brand new and quality certified cylinder is given to the customer. The customer is therefore sure of the source and safety of LPG used.
Besides, the company is opening up more LPG sale outlets. “With more Total Service stations opening up for sale of LPG and distributors of LPG coming up all over the nation, access to a safe LPG use is coming closer to the consumer unlike it used to be,” she said.
Due to much concern for safety, she added that Total Nigeria has embarked on a safety awareness initiative on the use of LPG nationwide. “Today, every LPG cylinder from all Total outlets has LPG safety sticker on it, detailing to the user on the safest way to use and handle LPG at home.
“Total Nigeria has also provided small storage tanks at no extra cost, to Small and medium scales business to encourage start up and continued use of LPG. (Hotels, eateries among others),”she added.
Edunro said although the LPG industry in Nigeria has experienced remarkable growth; from a local consumption of 60 MTPA in 2008, to more than 250 MTPA in 2014, the industry is still facing some challenges such as inadequate government owned jetties for LPG vessels to berth.
This, she said has in many occasions caused serious delays in supplies of LPG due to vessel queuing in Apapa NOJ leading to outages in the market.
Also, she noted the sector is faced with insufficient of good cylinders in the market and high cylinder cost (and high equipment cost), adding that presently there are no operational LPG cylinder manufacturing plant in Nigeria, hence all LPG cylinders are imported at huge import duties and cost. This makes the start-up for a switch to LPG a bit expensive for the low income population.
She further lamented the poor government regulation and enforcement. “Unlike other Countries, there are no clear cut regulations on the LPG industry. This has in the past led to poor safety operations and malpractices in the industry,” she stated.
Total Nigeria currently has five LPG cylinder filling plants in Nigeria. From these filling plants, cylinders are filled and distributed to all Total Nigeria LPG retail service stations.
The plants are located in Lagos, Onitsha, Benin, Kaduna and Kano and are all presently operating below capacity, thus, the company is planning to increase the number of service station and distributors, so that every TotalGaz customer will have access to Totalgaz within their neighbourhood. However, plans are in the pipeline to float a filling plant in Abuja in the near future.