Speaking at a virtually held event at the State House to unveil National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative on Tuesday, President Buhari said: “It is no longer news that the vast Natural Gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with have hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilization.
“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and the additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.’’
Buhari explained that the deregulation of the downstream sector has exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserves.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The Nigerian leader said the auto-gas initiative would lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing the support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time,’’ the statement by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying.
He expressed appreciation to Nigerians and the Organized Labour for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad of economic challenges, assuring that the Federal Government is working hard to ameliorate the situation.
“Let me now express my deep appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, and Organized Labour for its maturity and patriotism as we collectively navigate these global economic and other challenges.’’
In his remarks at the event, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said the ministry was focusing on the development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.
He added that the National Gas Expansion programme, which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium-term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari, disclosed that that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over N3 trillion subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly petrol insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.
He added that the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.