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Road and energy safety experts have started weighing the merits and demerits of the recently sealed deal between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some joint venture partners to commence the delivery of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by trucks to power generation companies and industries.
According to them, though the new is idea aimed at boosting capacity utilization amongst power plants and mega industries, moving LNG on roads remains risk of the highest order considering the state of roads and lack of time regulation for trucks.
Business Hilights recalls that last week, a -20-year Gas Sale Aggregation Agreement (GSAA) deal was sealed between the NNPC, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN) and Greenville LNG Limited to begin trucking of LNG on roads to destinations of need.
The deal did not come with any form of time and schedule regulation as to when and how LNG will be on the roads.
Petroleum Resources Minister for State, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, had explained that the idea would minimise gas supply disruption to Gencos , as about 750 trucks and other machinery that hitherto ran on diesel will now be fuelled by LNG while also delivery same to LNG plants across the country in bid to reduce dependence on petrol .
The initiative also aims at ensuring adequate gas supply nationwide at uniform cost. The agreement will also ensure cleaner environment and create more jobs for Nigerians.
The spirit of the deal shows that Greenville LNG will introduce the first 100 per cent LNG fuelled trucks with a fleet of 750. It will also establish a series of LNG fuel stations across Nigeria on major highways.
The Minister, who noted that the development was first of its kind in the history of Nigeria, was however, silent on issues of road safety and timing schedule to limit chances of accident while dragging roads with other road users.
Already, there are fears that the new idea will shut up costs of road rehabilitation and maintenance by additional 30 percent according to civil engineering experts as the gross weight of LNG is higher than those of other highly inflammable products.
The idea to gas by roads was conceived on the ground that trucks are cheaper than the pipelines that have often come under severe attacks by militants and other economic saboteurs.
While revealing that the use of pipelines will be minimal when the initiative takes off, Kachukwu listed some of the advantages coming with the agreement, saying “this agreement will unlock huge economic opportunities for the country. It currently produces 2,200 cubic meters of gas even as it has the capacity to produce 5,000 scuf of gas”.
“This initiative is part of our 7 Big Wins programme and since President Muhammadu Buhari came onboard, we were given the mandate to unlock the gas potential of the country and reduce dependence on oil.
“This programme has been in the works for three years running. We set up different companies including the marketing arm of gas division of the NNPC. This project was also realised because of the calm we somewhat enjoy in the Niger Delta region. Without the relative peace, this cannot work. It is coming just few months after we launched the new gas policy.
“We will ensure this succeeds and grows. So payment obligations and other contractual agreements will be respected so that all parties could discharge their duties as expected. We will ensure funding and payment won’t be an issue,” Kachikwu said.
The Managing Director of Total Nigeria Exploration and Production (TENP), Nicozas Terraz, had described the agreement as a good development for Nigerian gas market, stressing that “Our mission is not only to produce energy but to ensure its supply too. We want to ensure supply of gas to domestic market”.
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