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CNG vehicles less explosive than petrol, marketers assure Nigerians

....Says it’s clean fuel, safe and cheap

By Our Reporter

Members of the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) and other stakeholders have guaranteed the safety of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), otherwise known as Auto Gas, in Nigeria. They said CNG is ten times less explosive than petrol vehicles.

The significant stakeholders who gathered at the MEMAN Competency Centre workshop reiterated the need for quality kits, frequent maintenance structure, and strict compliance with standard rules for motorists to enjoy clean and cheap auto fuel.

The event, “Enhancing Operational Safety in Nigeria’s Retail Compressed Natural Gas Sector,” was held online at the MEMAN Secretariat in Lagos. It brought together key stakeholders from across the industry to discuss best practices for the safe implementation and use of CNG in Nigeria.

Speaking during the meeting, the Chairman of MEMAN, Huub Stokman, said: “It’s important to realise that we’ve been on this journey for a long time. 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 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and CNG, emphasising the need for proper equipment, transport, and installation procedures.

He stressed that the workshop aimed to share best practices and ensure the safe adoption of CNG, which is set to become a permanent fixture in Nigeria’s energy landscape. “We owe it to ourselves, our friends, and our families to introduce CNG safely,” he concluded.

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

He said the Nigerian government’s commitment to transitioning to cleaner, safer, and more reliable fuel options under President Bola Tinubu.

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

However, he assured the audience of its safety, stating, “CNG is ten times less explosive than petrol and eight times less explosive than diesel when properly handled.”

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

A key initiative highlighted by Oluwagbemi was the development of the Nigerian Gas Vehicle Monitoring System (NGVMS), which was designed to oversee safety practices in the natural gas vehicle system. This system aims to monitor everything from inspecting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicles to converting 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 explained.

According to Oluwagbemi, the PCNGI’s goal 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, reaffirming the government’s commitment to safety during this transition.

Meanwhile, the workshop covered essential topics, including standards for conversion kits presented by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), maintenance of CNG vehicles by Nigerian Sinotruk Limited, safe refuelling practices discussed by NIPCO and Axxela, driving precautions from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and emergency response to gas fires by the Federal Fire Service.

John Okoro of Axxela said natural gas is the way to go because it is a clean fuel and it is safe and cheap.

However, he said the poor state of Nigerian roads would necessitate frequent maintenance, but once the maintenance is done, the safety is guaranteed.

Representing NIPCO Gas, Ray Ujiagheli said necessary safety measures should be followed at the point of refueling to prevent disaster.

These, according to him, include turning off the engine, properly parking the vehicle, physically checking CNG kits, and avoiding using mobile phones, among others.

He urged drivers to comply with the rules at the filling stations fully.

An officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Maxwel Egbota, also emphasised that auto gas is very safe, urging drivers to recognise the hazards and risks first and guide them against them.

He said drivers should not keep the vehicle running while refilling, monitor the pressure while refilling, do proper maintenance and comply with the expiration dates on the cylinder, confirm that the cylinder verve is safe, avoid unsafe retrofitting, and fix quality equipment only at the recommended workshop.

He said, “CNG vehicles are safe when properly maintained and used.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), Taji Ogbe, emphasised that safety in the gas industry is the top priority and highlighted the cost savings and environmental benefits of CNG compared to petrol and diesel.

He also acknowledged the challenges of CNG adoption, including infrastructure and conversion costs, but emphasised the crucial role of standards and public education in addressing these.

Ogbe commended MEMAN and the PCNGI’s efforts and reiterated the importance of sustained information dissemination, industry engagement, and 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 concluded.


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