Nigeria To Become Africa’s Crude Oil Refining Hub-MOMAN

Yemisi Izuora

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector have predicted that the country would soon become petroleum products refining hub in Africa with new steps the federal government is taking.

They stated that the new policies on alternative energy, the total deregulation and liberalization of the petroleum  downstream sector as well as the coming on stream of new modular refineries Nigeria will also be a better exporter of refined products.

Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria(MOMAN), Mr Tunji Oyebanji, said Nigeria has an opportunity to go big on alternative energies such as gas and solar energy but it must gird its loins to ensure that these green alternative energy sources are strategically developed and their usage deepened across the country for the benefit of Nigerians.

He said there must be cheaper and cleaner alternatives to petrol and diesel made available to the public especially as full deregulation of the Nigerian Petroleum downstream sector  commences.

He assured of the association’s support to ensire realisation of the gas initiatives of the federal government and keying into the auto gas space to give Nigerians across the country a cleaner and greener alternative to power their automobiles, homes and other equipment.

He  said:”The idea of deepening the use of gas comes at a very auspicious time as we grapple with increasing PMS prices due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.

The marketers said  in total support of the government’s new energy strategy, they  organized the Nigerian Compressed Natural Gas Webinar on the 2nd of September, 2020 in collaboration with Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream and ARS Conference Services with key stakeholders in  the country’s oil and gas sector in attendance.

The event unveiled gas as a cheaper and greener replacement fuel for automobiles in Nigeria and dissected the spectrum of its untapped potential across the downstream energy value chain, spelling out opportunities for government, investors, and consumers.

They  also said the  webinar reinforced the government’s commitment to the gas deployment strategy, addressed issues around policy framework, infrastructure, sustainability, and usability.

According to the marketers, the imperative need to develop CNG, LPG and LNG as an alternative to petrol and other fuels has never been more critical, especially with the recovering crude oil prices and the rising demand of refined products as we approach the winter months in Europe.

The statement said:”Using other countries where Gas has been adopted and integrated as an alternative auto fuel as case studies, Gas requires government support and interventions to take root.

The Gas value chain is awash with opportunities for new investment, skills development, and enhancement of our local public transportation infrastructure.

“Clear policy directives and legislative framework aimed at generating demand, as well as Customs duty and tax waivers will be required and fast tracked to jumpstart the sector and attract investment into the gas space.

The statement said  the National Gas Expansion Program (NGEP),  has further engaged stakeholders across the energy value chain to push the government’s gas agenda following its recent stakeholders consultative webinar meeting   in association with MOMAN and DAPPMAN.

It added:” In essence, the NGEP is bringing together all relevant government agencies to ensure that the gas space is business friendly and conducive enough to encourage new investors into the sector. Nigeria, being a gas country must be able to benefit locally from its abundant gas reserves and transfer the advantages to the Nigerian consumer”

At the webinar, Mohammed Ibrahim, Chairman, National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP),  also said  the promotion of gas as replacement fuel will save Nigeria the much-needed foreign exchange expended on importation of refined petroleum products.

He said : “The NGEP is a programme put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva , in furtherance of the domestic gas expansion programme of the current administration.

“The programme is designed to reinforce and expand domestic gas supply and stimulate demand in the country through the effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.

”The deliverables of the programme include the development of a strong domestic gas-based economy by leveraging on the nation’s abundant gas potential.

In his remarks, Mr Emeka Akabogu, Chairman, OTL Africa, commended the government on its efforts to facilitate increased deployment and use of autogas in the country.

Akabogu said : “We must warn, however, that the role of government in this regard should be limited to facilitation by way of incentives, guidelines and monitoring regulatory compliance, and not delving into operations”.

Following the well-attended webinar, the NGEP in association with MOMAN and DAPPMAN convened two stakeholders consultative meetings with MOMAN, DAPPMAN, Auto Gas stakeholders, Automobile assemblers and manufacturers, cylinder fabricators and engine converters etc. in attendance, to further discuss challenges affecting the National Gas Policy and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources gas sector intervention programs.

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