Oil marketers, on Sunday, confirmed that they have received the nod of domestic and international financiers to develop about 30,000 gas stations nationwide.
It was also gathered that many of the stations were currently being converted to start dispensing gas, following the decision of the Federal Government to deploy about 11,000 vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas, as part of plans to cushion the removal of fuel subsidy.
Providing updates on the move by marketers to build about 30,000 gas stations to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo, told our correspondent that financiers of the project were responding positively.
In April this year, The PUNCH exclusively reported that oil marketers wrote to the Federal Government over their proposal to build about 30,000 gas stations to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
In the letter to the Federal Ministry of Finance, the marketer had also asked the Federal Government to make the Central Bank of Nigeria release the N250bn intervention fund for the National Gas Expansion Programme as loans to vehicle owner to acquire gas conversion kit.
“Our partners, Gas Analytics & Solutions Ltd, have an agreement with the independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria to co-locate natural gas dispensers on our network of over 30,000 filling stations in Nigeria.
“This collaboration with IPMAN presents the most economic and expedient platform to deploy the necessary infrastructure to support a fast national roll-out of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) for vehicles,” IPMAN had explained in its letter.
When contacted on Sunday for updates on the initiative, Okonkwo said IPMAN was working with its financiers and were getting the desired responses for the project.
“The ultimate alternative is the use of gas or CNG, which will reduce the financial burden in fueling a car. So CNG should be encouraged. We are still working with our financiers. Getting money is not a day job, there are things you need to do.
“Our solution is something that will help. A distance that would have taken you between N50,000 to N70,000 when covered using PMS, you are now using N5,000 to cover such distance. So you would have saved over N50,000,” he stated.
Probed further on whether this significant cut in cost was possible when using CNG, Okonkwo replied, “It is very possible. That is why we are bent on deepening this initiative. It is not everybody that can buy PMS. You that with the current cost of PMS, you don’t move anyhow.”
The IPMAN president, however, refused to name the amount being sort by the association from its financiers for the development of the gas stations, stressing that “nobody throws their business plan open like that.”
Asked whether IPMAN was discussing with international or local financiers, Okonkwo replied, “both,” adding that marketers were currently handling the conversion process for the filling stations.
On whether marketers were getting endorsements from their financiers, Okonkwo said, “That’s yes, and we are doing what they have asked us to do.”
The IPMAN president said the government was showing interest in the use of autogas and expressed optimism that marketers would get the support they require from the government.
“They (government) said they will provide about 11,000 vehicles to run on CNG and they have established a presidential committee for that and this means they are thinking about it,” Okonkwo stated.