By Louis Iba
Techno Oil Limited has sealed a multi-million naira deal with Cakasa Nigeria Limited for the construction of a 12,000 metric tonnes automated Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal in Lagos State. LPG is also known as cooking gas. In recent years the availability of the fuel in sufficient quantity for consumers has been greatly hampered due the absence of storage facilities as the bulk of the LPG used in the country is usually imported, stored and loaded through trucks for onward discharge at retail outlets for end users.
Managing Director of Techno Gas and Power, Mr Collins Onyeama who spoke in Lagos at a ceremony to officially sign the agreement between the two firms said the project was part of effort to boost the utilisation of cooking gas as a source of domestic fuel by many households in the country in place of kerosene and firewoods.
He said the construction of the plant was made possible courtesy of a facility provided by Access Bank Plc. He described the project as the largest in West Africa saying Cakasa had a November, 2017 deadline to complete and bring the project on stream for use by the public.
“This facility being built at the Kirikiri coastline at Apapa in Lagos is expected to boost LPG storage holding in Nigeria and it would be handled by CAKASA in partnership with a leading European firm that had handled similar facilities in Nigeria and other African countries,” said Onyeama.
“I am optimism that the facility would be a game-changer in getting more Nigerians and people in West Africa to embrace LPG for cleaner, safer and healthier environment,” he added.
Onyeama said that the Techno Oil Group was embarking on the project to boost the drive by the Federal Government to increase the consumption of LPG, currently standing at about 400,000 metric tonnes every year in Nigeria.
He said that suitability approval for the construction of the plant had been granted by the Department of Petroleum Resources and that necessary environmental impact assessments had also been carried out.
The Managing Director of CAKASA, Mr Yaro Balami, assured that his company had the capacity to build the plant, saying that more than 80 per cent of tank farms in Nigeria were built by CAKASA.
He said that the company had been in the business of building oil and gas facilities since the past 42 years, praising Techno Oil for embarking on the project.
Meanwhile, Techno Oil has announced that the company’s LPG cylinder manufacturing plant being built in Lagos had been slated for inauguration in February next year.
Onyeama who disclosed this said the company would commence the installation of 50 units of digital LPG skids at some filling stations next month to make more Nigerians to have easier access to LPG plants.
He listed some challenges that had made it difficult for most Nigerians to embrace LPG, citing inadequate public awareness on safety, limited refilling plants and high cost of imported cylinders.
He suggested that government should use the National Orientation Agency to drive the campaign to switch from firewood and kerosene to cooking gas.
“This will reduce the phobia and improve public awareness that LPG is clean, safe and affordable and also expose the danger inherent in long use of firewood and kerosene.’’
He argued that although the use of cooking gas had increased by about 36.8 per cent in Nigeria in the past three years, over 90 per cent of households still relied on kerosene, firewood and other unhealthy fossils for their energy sources.
The industrialist said that Nigeria had a population of over 170 million people but that the country had less than one million households using cooking gas.
Onyeama said there was need to exploit Nigeria’s huge gas reserves, estimated at about 187tcf — the largest in Africa and the ninth largest reserve in the world.
According to him, Nigeria still ranks lowest in sub-Saharan Africa in per capita usage of LPG, consuming 1.1kg compared to Ghana consuming 3.0kg.
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