The Federal Government has announced its decision to cease granting licenses to gas companies lacking the capacity to construct pipelines for gas distribution. This decision aims to discourage the transportation of compressed natural gas (CNG) via roads.

The Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, disclosed this during a visit to Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, on Wednesday. Ekpo’s visit followed a recent CNG explosion in Ita Oshin.

During the visit, Ekpo, representing President Bola Tinubu, expressed condolences and conducted an assessment of the incident. He emphasized the importance of transitioning from fossil fuel to CNG.

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Ekpo stated that he had instructed the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed, not to issue licenses to companies unable to distribute CNG through pipelines to end-users. This measure aims to curb virtual gas transportation and enhance safety.

The minister highlighted the government’s efforts to develop pipelines for CNG transportation, aiming to prevent road explosions and safeguard lives and property.

“As the Federal Government, we are making efforts to reduce the virtual transportation of gas due to its volatility, particularly with the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano pipeline,” Ekpo said.

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“I have directed that for any future license issuance, companies must be capable of piping gas to end-users to avoid such dangers. We are focusing on developing gas pipeline infrastructure to eliminate virtual transportation, reducing incidents and easing the pressure on our roads.”

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Ekpo emphasized that despite the incident, CNG remains a safer alternative to petrol. He urged Nigerians not to be discouraged.

“The use of CNG is safer than petrol, as seen in the incident in Port Harcourt where lives were lost and vehicles were burnt. It’s better to adopt this approach,” he added.

Ekpo also stressed the importance of using quality cylinders for gas distribution to prevent accidents.

Farouk Ahmed, the CEO of NMDPRA, assured Nigerians that the agency, in collaboration with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Federal Road Safety Corps, is working to prevent similar accidents. Training programs for truck drivers are also being organized to enhance road safety.

Governor Dapo Abiodun thanked the team and President Tinubu for their support, pledging to promote the Federal Government’s CNG initiative further.

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