By Solomon Asowata
Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says the Federal Government is committed to making Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders available to Nigerians at affordable prices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sylva spoke on Friday at the groundbreaking of Rungas Group Type 3 Composite Cylinder Manufacturing Plant located at Alaro City, Epe, Lagos State.
The minister said the project, which was being executed in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), would enhance penetration of LPG, also known as cooking gas, in the country.
He said: “In addition to making gas cylinders available to all Nigerians at affordable prices, our gathering here today is necessitated by the hazards posed by substandard, old, expired and illegal marketing of cylinders to innocent users in Nigeria.
“In our current circumstance, there is dire need for safe, efficient and user-friendly cylinders, both for domestic and industrial use, as well as our concerted drive for gas expansion programme in the auto and other prime movers.
“Therefore, today’s groundbreaking ceremony for a composite cylinder manufacturing plant is a watershed moment for enhancing deeper penetration of LPG and by extension Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) adoption in Nigeria.”
According to him, this is in line with the federal government’s commitment to ensure economic diversification using the oil and gas industry as a pivot.
He said the ministry of petroleum resources would continue to promote initiatives that support the utilisation of Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources for the growth and development of the country.
“Let me congratulate all the hardworking parties for driving this very impressive initiative that will bring quality composite gas cylinders to the market and primarily enhance the domestic use of LPG in Nigeria.
“Let me also add that this laudable initiative will not only bring affordable and durable cylinders to Nigerians, but will create countless direct and indirect jobs for our teeming citizens.
“I look forward to seeing the robust development of this facility in no distant time, as well as the addition to other plants being built in the various locations across the country,” Sylva said.
Also, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, said the project was the second of such partnership between the board and Rungas Group with another gas cylinder manufacturing plant already set up at Paloku in Bayelsa.
Wabote said when both plants are operational, they would produce about 1.2 million units of type 3 composite cylinders per annum, making the project one of the largest in the world.
He said: “We are deliberate in going for the Type-3 Composite LPG cylinders considering the unique features such as safety, lightweight and durability.
“We believe our handshake with the Rungas Group will catalyse the transition away from the heavy metallic LPG cylinders to the composite LPG cylinders.”
Wabote said latest data released from the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency showed that domestic consumption of LPG in Nigeria exceeded one million Metric Tonnes (MT) in year 2020.
“This is the first time domestic LPG consumption would reach the one million MT mark. Even though 2020 was the year of COVID-19 pandemic, it was also ‘the Year of Gas’ and it is significant that the LPG consumption level broke the previous records.
”This shows that the various initiatives being embarked upon by the government through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its agencies are already yielding fruits.
“Despite utilising one million MT of LPG in 2020, Nigeria still has one of the lowest per capita LPG consumption in Africa, hence, a lot of opportunities still exist for increasing LPG penetration in Nigeria.
“That is why we chose to partner in the local manufacturing of composite LPG cylinders as one of the key conduits to get LPG to our homes to enhance the attainment of the target of five million MT of LPG consumption annually within this Decade of Gas. ”
On his part, Mr Lanre Runsewe, Managing Director, Rungas Group, thanked the Federal and Lagos State Government for the support given to the company to embark on the project.
Runsewe expressed optimism that the plant, when completed, would produce enough products to meet the country’s demand and export to other countries, thereby earning the nation much needed foreign exchange. (NAN)