NIPCO plans nationwide vending facility for alternative fuel

NIGERIAN motorists are at the verge of enjoying alternative fuel sources that could cushion the effects of petroleum shortage, as the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) plans to expand its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations to serve more customers across the country.

The Managing Director of the company, Venkataraman Venkatapathy, told The Guardian in Lagos recently that the company has concluded plans to establish the CNG stations in other parts of the country by the end of the year 2013.

The company already has CNG filling stations in Benin City, Edo State. Venkatapathy said about 1,500 cars are already running on the alternative fuel in Benin, while it is fast spreading to other locations.

“We are going beyond Benin, and plans are at advanced stage, I can assure you that in 2013, we will open other CNG outlets in other parts of the country,” he said.

Expressing his company commitment to promote gas utilisation in Nigeria, he said Nipco is planning to increase its Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) station to six within the year.

He added that the company is planning to increase its petroleum retail filling station to 225 before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Venkatapathy, disclosed in a recent statement signed by the company’s spokesperson, Taofeek Lawal, that the company had over the years put in place a 4,500 metric tonnes (mt) LPG storage facility and supported plethora of events for stakeholders to deepen the domestic gas market.

The managing director said the company-sponsored campaigns on gas utilisation at various levels to provide veritable platforms for highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of LPG against the backdrop of the abundant gas resources in the country.

He reiterated that Nipco is not in the LPG business as an investor alone, but as a corporate entity desirous of availing the populace the benefits of using gas with the introduction of its 3kg and 6kg cylinders with single burner stove.

Venkatapathy explained that as part of the company’s conscious resolve to improve access to gas, LPG skid are being deployed to major cities across the nation using some of Nipco’s branded outlets.

The skid, which is akin to a mini gas station, he noted, offers dual purposes, as it can be used to refill for domestic gas cylinders and re –fuel vehicles using LPG as auto fuel with its attendant economic and environmental benefits.

The managing director, however, commended the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for its vision for the sector and its assertion that LPG remains one of the veritable engines for economic growth of the nation in line with the gas master plan.