Ekperikpe Ekpo, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Gas, has embarked on a collaborative mission with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to tap into the country’s abundant natural gas reserves. The primary goal of this initiative is to alleviate transportation costs for Nigerian citizens, as well as address other pressing challenges. Ekpo’s commitment to this endeavour was reaffirmed as he assumed his duties on August 22.
In his statement, Ekpo emphasized the urgency of establishing a well-defined agenda and a comprehensive implementation roadmap for the exploitation of Nigeria’s vast but largely untapped gas resources. With the removal of fuel subsidies, the responsibility of providing a viable alternative to premium motor spirit (PMS) has fallen on the shoulders of the Ministry.
Ekpo’s dedication to creating an economically sound and environmentally sustainable gas utilization framework is evident as he strives to develop crucial infrastructure for the nation’s benefit.
Nigeria boasts proven natural gas reserves that position it among the world’s leading gas-rich nations. Ekpo believes that harnessing this potential will not only stimulate the domestic economy but also generate hundreds of thousands of job opportunities within the local market.
This ambitious vision hinges on a comprehensive assessment that will pave the way for optimizing the entire gas value chain, spanning from exploration to distribution.
Ekpo’s immediate priorities centre on active exploration and exploitation of gas resources to address pressing issues such as transportation costs, food prices, and inflation. Successfully achieving these objectives is poised to enhance the overall quality of life for Nigerians.
Recall that, prior to Ekpo’s appointment, President Tinubu proposed the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to increasingly costly petrol, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies and global crude price hikes.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has outlined a phased rollout plan for CNG adoption. The first phase encompasses 21 CNG stations dedicated to intra-city transportation, projected to be operational by the first quarter of 2024.
Subsequently, the second phase will comprise 35 CNG stations catering to intercity transportation needs, also set to be operational in 2024. NNPC Retail stations will contribute to the initiative with an additional 56 stations deployed nationwide.
Nipco Gas, a key partner in the CNG rollout, already operates 14 CNG stations across Nigeria and has facilitated the conversion of over 7,000 vehicles to run on CNG.
As Nigeria progresses towards optimizing its natural gas resources, the collaborative efforts spearheaded by Ekpo hold the potential to reshape the nation’s economic landscape, ushering in sustainability, job creation, and reduced transportation costs.
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