Efforts to promote the autogas industry in Nigeria has received a boost as THLD Group, in association with Autogas Africa, has entered into a partnership with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Limited to produce dual-fuel powered vehicles in the country.
THLD Group is also set to establish an automotive assembly plant to produce 100 per cent gas-powered light, medium and heavyweight vehicles for the Nigerian and West African markets.
In line with its National Gas Expansion Plan, the federal government has been pushing for the usage of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in automobiles to utilise Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves.
An ambitious target which aims at achieving a 40 per cent energy switch from the consumption of petrol, kerosene and diesel to the use of LPG is being facilitated by government to ensure smooth and quick transition to cleaner automotive fuel.
During the groundbreaking of this latest development, the Chief Executive Officer, THLD Group, Mr Oluwasegun Olajuwan, revealed that the company planned to sell at least 1,000 units of gas-powered vehicles annually across the sub-region when the assembly plant comes on stream.
He confirmed the company’s readiness to establish at least five autogas filling stations in each state of the federation, and noted that they had already developed technical capacity for conversion of vehicles across the country.
Olajuwan said “With the Federal Government’s commitment to converting most vehicles in Nigeria to run on gas in the next few years, there is potential for astronomical growth in Nigeria’s autogas industry. Autogas is beneficial in many ways as it is cheaper than regular fuel and is environmentally friendly.”
He said that as part of efforts to take advantage of the government’s autogas policy, his company entered into a partnership with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing to design dual-fuelled vehicles in an attempt to put Nigeria at par with other African countries like Morocco and Ghana that were already reaping the benefits.
Olajuwan noted that while the company was yet to make a decision on the location of the assembly plant, they had received favourable propositions from Ogun and Anambra States, and would soon take a final decision in that regard.
He confirmed that THLD had also entered into technical partnerships with one of the best automobile gas engine producers in Asia for the project, while another partner with an impressive track record in automobile assembly would be responsible for producing the chassis.
Olajuwan reiterated the need to develop requisite competence in an industry that was currently at a zero-knowledge capacity, while noting that technical control and the integrity of the conversion process must be protected at all costs.
He commended the federal government for dedicating a NGN250 billion gas intervention fund, to catalyse developments in the industry. He also called for the industry to address the important issue of the distinction between propane for autogas and a blend of propane and butane for cooking gas.
“Autogas is too big to be subsumed under the cooking gas framework. Autogas is predominantly propane and the market must adopt a modular structure to promote pureq2 propane as autogas, in addition to developing strict guidelines for its handling and usage”, Olajuwan said.
He advised car owners to consider the benefits and switch to gas-powered engines and make over 40 per cent savings on their fuel bill.
Recall, on August 25, during the Ministerial Mandate Performance Scorecard Review session, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva disclosed that he had already submitted all his vehicles to be converted to run on either option of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which are expected to serve as alternatives to petrol.
Sylva said the conversion of vehicles in his ministry and agencies to run on autogas was to demonstrate to Nigerians that the government was serious with its declaration of 2020 as ‘The Year of Gas’.
Sylva said, “We are introducing an alternative fuel. Gas will now become fuel for our cars. This programme will be rolled out between now and the end of the year. So, if you go convert your car to dual fuel, then you can drive into a typical filling station where you will find LPG and CNG on sale.”