The significant growth in local consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is pegged at about 600,000 metric tonnes yearly, has been hinged on many Nigerians converting to the use of cooking gas for domestic and commercial uses. Hitherto, the country’s local consumption stood at about 70,000 metric tons yearly as of 2007, despite the nation’s huge proven gas reserves.
However, the myth surrounding the use of cooking gas is being gradually addressed as enlightenment and education on the benefit of gas as clean fuel has increased over the years, yielding into the high conversion of households.
The Guardian gathered that supply of various sizes of gas cylinders around some retail shops in some major markets like Ojuelegba, Mushin and some parts of Isolo had increased over time. When our reporter visited some of these retail shops, revelations were that sales have almost doubled as compared to that of previous years because many people in recent times have moved to the use of gas which would require a cylinder and other accessories as start-up kits for conversions.
In an interaction with one Madam Mary of C.J. Benny Products Global ltd, a cylinder retail shop, she doubted if the purchase of cylinders would ever fall, adding that at least not in some years to come.She affirmed that just like her shop, others around often take a regular supply of cylinders most especially the three and 6kg gas cylinder sizes because they move fast in the market.
Mary who refused to give out information on the average figure of sales mentioned that price is subject to frequent fluctuations owing to import challenges.
The salesperson from Evans Impex Ltd. also testified to the recent rise in sales of gas cylinders especially three and 6kg cylinder bottles, as he also described how the cost of importation as well as transportation from the port was a major challenge.
Chief Operating Officer, (COO) of Dowe Gas, Emeka Agodi, however, disclosed figures of daily sales of the different sizes of cylinder bottles, saying his outlet sells between 300 to 400 sizes of 6kg camp cylinder bottles daily and about 50 on the average for 5kg camp cylinders.
Explaining why the 6kg camp sizes are high on-demand, Agodi said with the economy not doing so good, most people are interested in converting to gas but cannot afford the cost to buy cooking gas, cylinder and other accessories as a start-up, hence the preference of the 6kg camp bottle for the average Nigerian family.
The Dowee boss advanced that people can still manage to afford the camp sizes because it’s all they need without buying other accessories. Our reporter gathered that the average market price for a three kg camp cylinder bottle was about N5,000, while six and 12 kg bottles were about N8,000 and N12,000 respectively.
Speaking to one consumer who had just bought a 3kg camp cylinder at one of the retail stores at Ojuelegba, she said she purchased the cylinder under the influence of her neighbour who also uses one.
According to her, her neighbour educated her on its use and told her that about N 1,500 worth of gas can go for three weeks as compared to the kerosene she was using, hence, her decision to switch to gas as well because the expense of buying almost N1500 kerosene for a week or less was much.
Comparatively, Agodi asserted that sales of camp cylinders in recent times surpasses what was recorded last year and was optimistic that sales would still increase.
Chief Executive Officer of Ultimate Gas, Awalu Ahmed attested to this revelation when he told The Guardian over a phone interview that the rate of patronage particularly for the lower level of consumers using 3kg and 6kg cylinders were gradually on the rise.
This he attributed to the continuous education as well as the realisation by people that LPG is safer and cheaper than kerosene, a move that has translated to more people buying the camp cylinder gas size of three, five and 6kg mostly.He was optimistic that in spite of the low per capita consumption rate in Nigeria, he believes quarter by quarter, there has been incremental demand, noting that this year was better than last year and “I believe the coming year would be better than now.”
However, Agodi gave his observation on the effects of cylinder importation, saying the government has left a lot of things in the hands of foreigners, adding that most of the cylinders in the Nigerian market were imported, and tend to have lower quality than locally manufactured ones.
“They write 6kg on imported cylinders while it is 5.5 kg or even 5kg in the real sense”, he added.He expressed disappointment saying that, now there is a steady shift in the market, but it has been taken over by some Chinese companies like Amaze who manufacture in Nigeria to meet the local demand. Agodi urged the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) not to relent on inspection of imported cylinders to ascertain if they meet the initial description given to them as samples.