Nigeria is a predominantly gas province with untapped huge expanse of gas reserves in excess of 187trillion cubic feet (tcf) and an average production capacity of over three million Metric Tons (MT) per year. But despite this huge endowment, the nation regrettably, has the lowest per capita Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumption of 1.1kg in Africa.
However, report showed that things are beginning to progress recently, with aggressive deployment of gas stoves, skid plants and awareness campaigns by indigenous companies. The LPG utilisation campaigns are led by Techno Oil Limited, Oando Plc and the Lagos State Government.
Sources said the initiatives by the local oil and gas companies have apparently increased the utilization of LPG, otherwise known as cooking gas.
According to a survey, the consumption of LPG in 2012, increased by 36.8 per cent, rising from 125,000 metric tons to 171,000 Metric tons.
Techno Oil has recently unveiled its “Going Green Revolution” -a platform to propagate the campaign for the change. The company launched the campaign at an elaborate ceremony in Lagos with full participation of market men and women at Oyingbo Market.
The event was a veritable forum to reach the target audience, who also happily went home with subsidised 3kg and 6kg cylinders. Techno Oil has also taken the campaign to Surulere in the Lagos heartland and Yenogoa in Bayelsa State. The oil marketing firm has also been involved in massive media and print media propagating the benefits of a shift from kerosene to Cooking gas.
Oando Plc has similarly, invested heavily in the launching of its gas stove brand, using the print and electronic media to reach its target audience. The company has since launched its products in major retail outlets nationwide.
However, the Lagos State Government launched the CAGEL Programme, aimed at prompting clean and sustainable environment. The programme also entailed the distribution of various sizes of cylinders to participants at subsidised prices.
The increase in cooking gas usage was also made possible by the commitment to steady supply of cooking gas in the domestic market by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited. The company recently announced an increase in the quantity of LPG to the domestic market from 150,000 to 250,000 MT.
All these are indications that there is light at the end of the tunnel for cooking gas consumption in Nigeria. It is envisaged that more interventions from the Federal Government, States and the general public will boost demand for cooking gas.
But stakeholders have advised the Federal Government to device means of providing sufficient small cylinders such as 3kg and 6kg sizes and their accessories to enable the poor and rural dwellers to use LPG.
They also suggested that government should launch a scheme to increase LPG use in selected local council areas and make provision for small skids for LPG storage.
To stem the gas underutilisation challenge, the stakeholders are demanding an end to kerosene subsidy by utilising the subsidy on liquid fuels to subsidize the acquisition of cylinders by Nigerian households.
They also suggested that the Federal Government should utilise its agencies such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to promote the campaign on cooking gas utilisation. They pointed out that the government should replicate the CAGEL Programme of Lagos State at the federal level by coming up with laws that would make cooking gas the fuel of choice in Nigeria.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of Techno Oil Limited, Mrs Nkechi Obi, confirmed that her company was investing massively in the campaign for the switch from kerosene and firewood to cooking gas, in a bid to promote cleaner environment needed to boost healthy living among Nigerians thereby increasing the life expectancy of the average Nigerian.
Obi said: “For us, the advocacy for the switch to the use of cooking gas, a cleaner way of cooking, has become a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We regard ourselves as change agents.
“It is a disgrace that Nigeria with so much gas reserves higher than countries like Ghana and Senegal will have the lowest consumption of cooking gas. “It is our determination to sustain this advocacy as part of our CSR so as to boost inflow of tourists, Foreign Direct Investment and to raise foreign exchange earnings needed for development projects nationwide.
“We are happy that stakeholders are appreciating the humble efforts of our advocacy and the investment of Techno Oil in making cooking gas as the energy of choice in Nigeria,” she added.
Information from The Guardian was used in this report.