The Federal Government is considering massive investment in compressed natural gas (CNG) that would serve as a viable alternative to petrol in the country.
It reckoned that the development would reduce the huge consumption of fuel as well as the perennial scarcity of the product as it is currently being experienced in Nigeria.
Dr. Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), disclosed this in Abuja, on Tuesday, while briefing members of staff of the corporation on the fuel supply situation in the country during a town hall meeting.
He expressed optimism that CNG would be a viable option having been successfully used to run vehicles in Benin, Edo State.
He said over 3,000 vehicles were now CNG-powered in the ancient city, making them more secured and more efficient since gas was a cleaner source of energy.
According to him, encouraging the development of infrastructure such as roads, railways, and waterways were other means by which NNPC planned to reduce PMS consumption.
He applauded the Federal Government for approving the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline project, stating that the gesture would go a long way in supporting the NNPC’s transformation into an integrated energy company.
He said the project, when completed, would create the needed backbone for the Abuja 1,350 megawatts power plant, Kaduna 900 megawatts power plant, and Kano 1,350 megawatts power plant.
The NNPC GMD disclosed that the operations of the corporation were being challenged by incessant vandalism of crude and pipeline products, and kidnapping of staff.
He said the corporation would continue to engage members of host communities in order to emplace growth and development of the local communities.
He hinted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was inching closer to arriving at the choice of financiers for the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC), Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC), and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited.
The development holds the promise of boosting petroleum products supply and distribution in the country.
He said agreements on the potential financiers for the refineries were being fine-tuned, following which the endorsement of the NNPC board would be this month.
“We are pushing towards the final selection of our financiers and we expect that when that is done, we’ll get the agreements and present them to our board meeting this month to secure their endorsement and, once we have the funding, we would start the rehabilitation of the refineries towards a 90 percent capacity utilization per stream day before the end of 2019,” Dr. Baru stated.
Describing the procedure for electing the financiers as painstaking, Baru said it was, however, necessary to enable a desired closure on the subject.
According to him, the NNPC was also encouraging new refining capacities to come on board, adding that there were two consortia that had indicated interest to co-locate refineries in Warri and Port Harcourt.
He added that NNPC would provide whatever utility services the companies might require, such as power, processed steam, water and land, stressing that the corporation had agreed in broad terms on areas of collaboration to fast-track the development.
“Am happy to inform you that progress has been made, up to the level of an acceptable detailed engineering design, and we are in the process of mobilizing some of the refineries already identified for installation in Nigeria,” the GMD informed.
He said the Kaduna State Government was also championing a proposal to co-locate another refinery close to the KRPC with the intent of sourcing Nigerien crude for its operations.
Dr. Baru stated that other Greenfield refineries would be brought on board soon in Kano and Kaduna, stressing that while on board, they would source their crude from Niger Republic.
He said the designs for the proposed refineries in Kano and Kaduna were ready, and assured that their construction would commence this year.
The NNPC GMD revealed that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the corporation were collaborating to encourage the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta to encourage job creation.
“So far, about 35 interests for modular refineries have been declared and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has issued licenses to about 13, and I have been invited to the groundbreaking ceremony of the first one in Bayelsa next month,” Dr. Baru revealed.
He noted that the Federal Government and the NNPC would continue to encourage private sector initiatives that would bring in competition in the petroleum products supply and distribution network so as to guarantee energy sufficiency for the country.