On Wednesday while briefing newsmen in Abuja, Timipre Sylva, The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said that plans are ongoing by the Federal Government to expand the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in order to stop subsidy payment.
CNG is a fuel that can be used in place of gasoline, diesel fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It’s combustion produces fewer undesirable gases than the aforementioned fuels.
He said that the government was set to discourage the use of Premium Motor Spirit PMS also known as petrol for transportation, especially for commercial purposes.
Sylva said that payment of subsidy on petrol was taking a toll on the finances of the country, adding that the government was working towards encouraging Nigerians to use CNG as fuel for transportation.
The minister of state noted that the government had over the years done a pilot scheme on CNG in Benin City, and it had proven that it would serve as an ideal alternative to fuel if expanded to the entire country.
According to him, while PMS at subsidised price goes for N143 per liter, CNG goes for between N95 and N97 per liter
“We will start very soon to roll out. Already, there is a pilot programme in Benin, which has worked for a long time.
About 4,000 vehicles are already on CNG in Benin.
“We want to expand that CNG programme across the country and we believe it is going to create a lot of opportunities for Nigerians and also give Nigerians a new lease of life because the commodity would be accessible,’’ he said.
Sylva said that the Ministry would focus on two key areas in 2020 to help in the stabilising the oil and gas sector and move it to the next level.
He said that government would support all efforts to ensure the increase in crude oil production level.
According to him, the country is currently produces about 1.774 million Barrel Per Day (BPD) which is still far behind the target.
“Few years ago, we produced more than two million barrels per day but we are projecting three million barrels and ultimately to get to four million bpd.
The United Arab Emirate used to produce 2.7 million bpd but today, they have moved to four million per day.
“We have gone back, today, according to OPEC report, we are producing 1.774 million bpd. You can see the need for us to move forward and that is actually the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari to us,’’ he said.
He added that the ministry would ensure improved relationship between industry stakeholders and the common man on the street by ensuring accessibility of petroleum products.
The minister of state said that the ministry would also in 2020 focus on tackling the insecurity challenge around oil and gas facilities in the country.
“Crude oil theft is being contained with strong legislation but it has continued to linger, this is because of lack of community inclusion.
“Our recommendation will be use of technology, community participation, Engagement of Petroleum Technology Institute (PTI) and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta region among others,’’ he said.