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MEMAN, stakeholders harp on operational safety in retail CNG sector

MEMAN, stakeholders harp on operational safety in retail CNG sector

 

By Yunus Yusuf

The Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) and other stakeholders have reiterated the need to enhance operational safety in Nigeria’s retail Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector.

The stakeholders gave the position at a workshop organised by the association, entitled “Enhancing Operational Safety in Nigeria’s Retail Compressed Natural Gas Sector”, at its competency centre in Lagos.

The stakeholders harped on best practices for the safe implementation and use of CNG in Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, Mr Huub Stokman, Chairman of MEMAN, underscored the importance of the  centre’s role in supporting the entire industry.

Stokman said: “Nigeria, known as the eighth largest gas province in the world, has extensive experience with LPG, which is a crucial part of our energy mix.

“As we introduce CNG to the public, it’s essential to ensure it is done correctly and safely.”

Stokman highlighted the distinct differences between LPG and CNG, emphasising the need for proper equipment, transport, and installation procedures.

He said that the workshop aimed to share best practices and ensure the safe adoption of CNG, which he said had become a permanent fixture in Nigeria’s energy landscape.

“We owe it to ourselves, our friends, and our families to introduce CNG safely,” he said.

Also, Mr Michael Oluwagbemi, Programme Director and Chief Executive of the Presidential CNG Initiative (PCNGI), described CNG as “the gas and fuel of the future for the transportation and power sectors.”

Oluwagbemi reiterated federal government’s commitment to transitioning to cleaner, safer, and more reliable fuel options under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu.

Oluwagbemi acknowledged concerns regarding the safety of CNG, given its high-pressure storage requirements.

He, however, assured the audience of its safety.

“CNG is eighteen times less explosive than petrol and eight times less explosive than diesel when properly handled,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of developing a robust regulatory framework to ensure the safe handling and use of CNG, particularly in the transportation sector.

Oluwagbemi highlighted the development of the Nigerian Gas Vehicle Monitoring System (NGVMS) designed to oversee safety practices in the natural gas vehicle system.

According to him, this system aims to monitor everything from the inspection of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) vehicles to the conversion of non-OEM vehicles.

“The NGVMS will allow us to see what actors are doing, accredit workshops, train and certify technicians, and ensure that vehicle parts used for conversion are certified and standardised,” he said.

The PCNGI’s goal, according to Oluwagbemi, is to implement smart regulation that promotes growth and provides clear, predictable rules for safe investment.

“We aim for a CNG sector with zero incidents as we seek to convert up to one million vehicles in the next three to four years,” he said.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to safety during this transition.

In his remarks, Mr Taji Ogbe, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), said that safety in the gas industry remained the top priority.

He highlighted the cost savings and environmental benefits of CNG compared to petrol and diesel.

Ogbe also acknowledged the challenges of CNG adoption, including infrastructure and conversion costs.

He, however, said that addressing these through standards and public education was crucial.

Ogbe commended the efforts of MEMAN and PCNGI, while reiterating the importance of sustained information dissemination, industry engagement, as well as  regulatory support to drive the successful and safe adoption of CNG in Nigeria.

“We must all work together to ensure that the adoption of CNG is both successful and safe,” Ogbe said.

The Business Intelligence (TBI Africa) reports that the workshop covered essential topics, including standards for conversion kits presented by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and maintenance of CNG vehicles by Nigerian Sinotruk Ltd.

Others are issues around safe refueling practices discussed by NIPCO and Axxela, driving precautions by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and emergency response to gas fires by the Federal Fire Service.

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