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Marketers ordered to open pumps for CNG vehicles

by Ikenna Ngere

The Federal Government has concluded plans to ensure marketers open Compressed Natural Gas Pumps in filling stations across the country.

As such, the government said intending retail licensees would be now required to establish a CNG point in their filling stations before getting final government approval.

The government asked oil marketers to commence the process of establishing Compressed Natural Gas points at their filling stations to increase consumer accessibility.

The Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed, disclosed this during a meeting with key oil marketing companies on Tuesday in Abuja.

The discussion was to address the issues of incessant scarcity of petroleum products in the country and propose alternative solutions.

Ahmed also disclosed that a major conversation they had was in the area of the Compressed Natural Gas initiative of the Federal Government.

He implored the major marketers to explore the availability of CNG in their gas stations as President Bola Tinubu has directed that government vehicles to be purchased henceforth must be CNG-powered.

He said new applications for retail licences would no longer be approved without CNG points.

Ahmed, who described the push by the Federal Government to encourage the use of CNG as an alternative to petrol as a revolution, said the government was determined to reduce the burden of petrol on the economy.

He added, “We also discussed the CNG revolution and our collective effort to ensure that we reduce the burden on the economy by having an alternative by having an alternative to PMS which is very costly especially due to exchange rate fluctuations and instability. we are looking at gas because we have it in abundance, we have over 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. All we need is to harness the industry to produce, invest and be good for the consumer and CNG is the way to go.

“We discussed our plans and collective responsibility to add CNG in our petrol stations very soon just like we have PMS, diesel and kerosene, we also want to have CNG so that it would provide easy access to the consumers but of course, we have to address the supply side and we are working with the producing companies, our sister agency, NUPRC and NNPC Limited as well as Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria to ensure that the product is also available at a competitive cost to the consumers.

“Secondly, we want to reduce the burden of the importation and consumption of PMS. we explored the possibility of converting the energy requirement of retail outlets and depot by the stakeholders here going into solar but of course there is a high entry cost and we have discussed that and it is going to be in phases. By doing so, we will reduce the demand for diesel in terms of powering our generators by utilising solar options. Once we are done with consultations, we will require that CNG add-ons be put in petrol stations and for new applications, one of the requirements will be that you must have CNG add-on in the petrol station”, he said.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the chief executive stated that authority will not dictate the price band of the products but assured that stopgaps like the Dangote Refinery would bring succour to the local industry.

He said the Federal Government would not set the price of petroleum products from the Dangote refinery upon its full operation.

He stressed that though the government was encouraging local refining of petroleum products to reduce imports, it would not compel oil marketers to buy from Dangote Refinery as the decision was commercial.

The authority had recently stated that it would soon issue a fully valid operating licence to the 650,000 barrels per day capacity petroleum refinery. The facility started releasing Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel to the domestic market in April this year. It has yet to release Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

He said, “There are concerns about the ability to import petroleum products especially diesel and aviation fuel and the advent of the Dangote refinery. We allayed the fears of the marketers and told them that the Dangote refinery is a major achievement in our country because the past we were importing every litre of petroleum products we required except those supplied by modular refineries. And as an oil-producing country, we believe at NMDPRA that we should support our local industry. And that is why we encourage our marketers to patronise our local refineries.

“But, at the same time, it is a commercial decision that they have to make between the suppliers and the clients. NMDPRA will not determine how much it is sold or how much you are buying. It is their own decision to go to Dangote refinery and purchase, and for Dangote refinery to determine the price they sell. As a regulator, we will not determine the price, we are only interested that the nation is well supplied.”

On the recent shortage of petrol across the country, Farouk blamed it on the logistics problem faced by NNPC Limited in moving products from offshore to onshore depots.

He also hinted at plans to equip retail outlets and trucks with trackers to oversee product movement, dispensing, and volume accounting to obtain a precise estimate of our national consumption.

“We also talked about our national consumption, the requirement for our national consumption for petrol stations, retail outlets and trucking industries to put some trackers that monitor the movement of the product as well as the dispensing and accounting for the volume sold or transported so that we can have a very good estimate of our national consumption. Because currently what we do is rely on trucking information rather than the actual delivery into retail outlets or other consumption areas.”

Speaking on behalf of the companies, the CEO, Matrix Energy, Mr Abdukabir Adisa Aliu said the companies were ready to support the government in its effort to increase energy sources for Nigerians.

“It is the country first and it is when you have a good country that the marketers will be able to operate and the consumers would be able to buy. I think the decision of the Federal Government supersedes all other decisions that we have. We are all in alignment with the decisions of the government and plead with Nigerians to be patient”, he stated.

SOURCE: PUNCHNG

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