An alternative source of fuel that will be cheaper than the N145 per litre of petrol is in the works, the government said on Thursday.
According to Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) will cost between N95 to N97 per litre, to make fuel more affordable.
Sylva, also assured that the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari before the anniversary of his re-election in May.
He told reporters that his ministry planned to bring the petroleum industry closer to the common man.
According to him, the fuel CNG had undergone a pilot project in Benin City where over 10,000 vehicles are already running on it.
With CNG, Sylva said the cost of fuel will reduce to about N95 per litre.
The minister said: “What we have decided is that we should try and give the masses an alternative. This will move the masses to CNG. That is transport vehicles for example, out of the PMS loop to be using the CNG. CNG cost less that the subsidized PMS. Per liter the subsidized rate of the PMS is N145 per litre. CNG will cost about N95 to N97 per litre.”
Sylva posited that Nigerians will never experience fuel scarcity again.
He noted that the oil has been stagnant for a very long time owing to the non-passage of the bill, which the ministry plans to lobby the National Assembly to pass in bulk.
He noted that Nigeria was already producing two million barrel per day and projecting to raise the daily production to four million barrel.
The minister recalled that then the United Arab Emirate (UAE) was producing 2.7 million barrel per day. According to him, the UEA has progressed to four million per day while the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) puts Nigeria’s production at 1.774 million barrel per day.
Enumerating the benefits accruable to Nigeria from the passage of the legislation, Sylva said it will create an enabling environment for local and international investors.
With the passage of the bill, the minister said that the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its Joint Ventures will become possible.
Besides, he said it would become possible to conduct major bid rounds, the proceeds of which can be channeled into project development.
The minister said: “Counting on the current harmony between the legislation and executive. We are optimistic that both the Petroleum Industry Administration and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill on the other hand will be passed within the first anniversary of this administration.
“We want to progress the consideration and passage of the overall petroleum and legislation. The team working in the PIB is on the final of the harmonisation of the different versions from 2000 to date (2009, 2012 and 2018).
Comment on the $62 billion court settlement payment that Nigeria is expecting from the International Oil Companies (IOC), he explained that the process is such a cumbersome one to analyze because it was a long time that $20 per barrel ceased to be a windfall.
He submitted that the Federal Government and the companies simply have to settle it amicably.
“There is no $62 billion anywhere that any company can pay,” the minister said.