Ekperikpe Ekpo, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Gas, has announced his commitment to collaborate with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to tap into the nation’s abundant natural gas reserves, with the goal of mitigating transportation costs for Nigerians. The minister made this statement after resuming his duties on August 22, emphasizing the need for a clear agenda and robust implementation roadmap to harness Nigeria’s untapped gas resources.
Ekpo stressed that the recent removal of fuel subsidies has placed the responsibility of providing a sustainable alternative to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on the ministry. He pledged to work towards building an economically viable and environmentally sustainable gas utilization framework while developing essential infrastructure for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens.
Unveiling Nigeria’s Gas Reserves Potential
Highlighting Nigeria’s status as one of the nations with the highest proven natural gas reserves globally, Ekpo underscored the potential for harnessing this resource to stimulate the domestic economy and create numerous job opportunities. He emphasized the importance of a comprehensive evaluation that will lay the foundation for maximizing the potential of Nigeria’s gas industry, enhancing the entire gas value chain from exploration to distribution.
Short-Term Goals: Cutting Costs and Improving Well-Being
Ekpo outlined his short-term goals, focusing on active exploration and exploitation of gas resources to address key challenges:
- Cutting Transportation Costs: Leveraging natural gas as an alternative fuel source could significantly reduce transportation expenses for Nigerians.
- Reducing Food Prices: The availability of cost-effective gas-based energy could lead to decreased food production and distribution costs.
- Eradicating Inflation: Lowering transportation and energy costs can contribute to overall price stability and inflation control.
These objectives, once achieved, are expected to enhance the general well-being of the Nigerian population.
CNG Rollout Plans
President Tinubu’s plan to utilize compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to petrol aligns with the government’s efforts to alleviate the impact of rising fuel costs. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) revealed a phased rollout of CNG stations:
- The first phase will feature 21 CNG stations supporting intra-city transportation, scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.
- The second phase comprises 35 CNG stations for intercity transportation, also set for 2024.
- NNPC Retail stations will deploy an additional 56 stations nationwide.
Nipco Gas, a key partner in the CNG rollout, has already established 14 CNG stations across Nigeria and converted over 7,000 vehicles to operate on CNG.
Minister Ekpo’s commitment to utilizing Nigeria’s abundant natural gas reserves as an alternative energy source reflects the government’s dedication to enhancing energy affordability and accessibility for the nation’s citizens.