Joseph Okafor, Energy Markets Editor
Hope rises for Nigeria’s LPG consumers as Newly-built Liquefied Petroleum Gas Vessels, MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas, are set to commence operations that will see them berth in Houston, USA to convey their first ever consignment of gas expected to be delivered to the West African coast from March 2017.
Both vessels’ operations are expected to actualize the vision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which hinges on boosting the availability of the commodity in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
Moreso, the two vessels will address the lingering challenges of supply, affordability and fraudulent activities of individuals and organisations seeking to adulterate cooking gas due to scarce supply.
MT Africa Gas has already taken the lead, commencing its maiden voyage by sailing towards the Caribbean/US Gulf Region.
Sahara Gas is due to follow suit in the coming weeks.
Industry watchers have commended the Dr. Maikanti Baru-led NNPC for taking bold steps at tackling the scarcity of cooking gas nationwide.
Experts have particularly lauded Baru’s giant interventions towards ensuring sustainability, safety and reliability for millions of consumers who depend on the commodity for their daily energy needs.
Considered as a cleaner, much safer and more affordable alternative to firewood and kerosene, the acceptability of LPG in the sub-region has been affected by some challenges over the years.
These hiccups include but are not limited to low supply and logistics arising from limited to lack of LPG vessels in the region.
But with the recent unveiling of two LPG vessels, being acquisitions driven by West Africa Gas Limited, a Joint Venture of NNPC and Sahara Group, there is a renewed optimism for what is popularly referred to as cooking gas in the country.
These two vessels, Hulls 8182 and 8183, were christened “Africa Gas” and “Sahara Gas” respectively at a historic naming event in Ulsan, South Korea.
The JV is run by two companies: NNPC LNG Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NNPC, and Sahara Energy’s oil and gas trading arm, Ocean Bed Trading Limited (BVI).
Working through the JV, NNPC’s LPG policy will in addition to improving supply within West African states check the menace of deforestation in the sub region.
It is expected that in the long run, the growing negative impact of climate change across the globe will be drastically reduced.
While speaking at the inauguration of the LPG vessels in South Korea, the NNPC boss said it was “an outstanding achievement” for Nigeria considering the fact “that the Joint Venture between NNPC and Sahara is already recording success stories within a short period having been established in 2013”.
Baru said the NNPC remained committed to ensuring uninterrupted supply of cooking gas as well as the adoption of policies to drive sustainable development across the entire energy value-chain of the nation’s oil and gas sector.