Nigeria launches ambitious plan to convert car fleet to gas
NIGERIA-GAS/Nigeria launches ambitious plan to convert car fleet to gas
LAGOS: Nigeria will offer free conversion to enable some cars to run on gas, and its Central Bank will make some 250 billion naira ($656.69 million) available for infrastructure in a bid to expand gas use and cut reliance on imported fuel, the government said on Tuesday.
The plan, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, is part of the oil- and gas-rich nation’s effort to free itself of costly gasoline subsidies while avoiding public anger over higher pump prices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has slammed oil prices, which provide 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and more than half of its budget.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel,” Buhari said via video link to the event.
Nigeria removed gasoline pump price controls earlier this year, but is still setting prices ex-depot, which has made it difficult for private companies to import fuel. NNPC’s oil refineries were completely shut down earlier this year in advance of hoped-for overhauls, leaving the nation entirely dependent on imported fuel.
NNPC head Mele Kyari said that select NNPC stations across Nigeria will offer free conversion of “some cars” to enable them to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or compressed natural gas (CNG). There are currently 80 locations in the country capable of fuelling the vehicles.
Nigeria has the world’s ninth-largest gas reserves, and vehicles that run on gas are generally cleaner and better for the environment. But gas must be cool or pressurised for distribution, and the infrastructure for transporting, processing and distributing it would cost billions of dollars. ($1 = 380.7000 naira) (Reporting By Libby George Editing by Chizu Nomiyama).