Germany Accuses Russia Of Blocking Gas Turbine Delivery

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a press conference during a visit to the Silvestras Zukauskas landfill in Pabrade, Lithuania June 7, 2022. PETRAS MALUKAS / AFP

 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday accused Russia of blocking the delivery of a turbine needed to keep gas flowing via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe.

The unit was “available and working” Scholz said, standing next to the turbine on a visit to the maker of Siemens energy.

“There is no reason why this delivery cannot happen,” Scholz said.

The turbine had received “all the approvals” it needed for export from Germany to Russia, he said.

Pipeline operators only needed to say that “they want to have the turbine and provide the necessary customs information for transport to Russia”, Scholz said.

Transferring the missing unit to Russia was “really easy”, he added.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has blamed the delayed return of the unit from Canada, where it was being serviced, for the initial reduction in deliveries of gas via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, has dismissed the decision to limit supplies as “political”.

Deliveries via the undersea energy link were reduced to around 20 percent of capacity in late July after Gazprom halted the operation of one of the last two operating turbines due to the “technical condition of the engine”.

Germany has been working to wean itself off Russian energy imports since the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Amid a scramble by Europe’s biggest economy for other energy sources, Scholz said Wednesday that it “can make sense” to keep Germany’s remaining three nuclear plants running, despite a long-planned stop at the end of the year.

The government has said it will await the outcome of a new “stress test” of the national electric grid before determining whether to stick with the phaseout.

Extending the lifetime of the plants has set off a heated debate in Germany, with the parties in Scholz’s coalition divided on the issue.

AFP

Nigeria, Algeria, Niger Discuss Gas Pipeline To Europe

In this file photo taken on November 08, 2011 the Nordstream gas pipeline terminal is pictured prior to an inaugural ceremony for the first of Nord Stream's twin 1,224 kilometre gas pipeline through the baltic sea, in Lubmin November 8, 2011. John MACDOUGALL / AFP
PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE STORY: In this file photo taken on November 08, 2011 the Nordstream gas pipeline terminal is pictured prior to an inaugural ceremony for the first of Nord Stream’s twin 1,224 kilometre gas pipeline through the baltic sea, in Lubmin November 8, 2011. John MACDOUGALL / AFP

 

African energy giants Algeria, Nigeria and Niger signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday on a vast gas pipeline project offering Europe potential future alternatives to Russian supplies, state media reported.

The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) would transport billions of cubic metres of gas some 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles) from Nigeria in West Africa, north through Niger and on to Algeria.

From there it could be pumped through the Mediterranean undersea Transmed pipeline to Italy, or loaded onto liquefied natural gas tankers for export.

On Thursday, Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab hosted his counterparts from Nigeria and Niger, Timipre Sylva and Mahamane Sani, for talks on the project, state news agency APS reported.

READ ALSO: Manufacturers Ask FG To Removal 7.5% VAT On Diesel

The contents of the memorandum of understanding were not disclosed, but the long-dormant project has seen an uptick in interest in recent months as gas prices have surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

When the TSGP was first proposed in 2009, the cost of building it was estimated at $10 billion.

As well as serving European markets, gas could be diverted to serve markets along the route of the pipeline or elsewhere in the Sahel region.

Algeria, Africa’s largest natural gas exporter, has already seen increased demand following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with Western nations scouring the globe to find supplies to replace oil and gas from Russia.

Algiers is seeking further ways to capitalise on high global energy prices.

But the TSGP would face formidable logistical and security challenges, passing through thousands of kilometres of desert where jihadist groups have waged a long insurgency.

“A pipeline like this would be hugely vulnerable, not just to attacks by jihadists but also by local communities if they feel they’re getting exploited by a project from which they derive no benefit,” said Geoff D. Porter, an energy expert with North Africa Risk Consulting.

“And then, who’s going to finance it?”

AFP

Russia Resumes ‘Unstable’ Gas Supplies To Europe Via Nord Stream

A photo taken on May 12, 2022 shows pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland. Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva / AFP
A photo taken on May 12, 2022 shows pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland. Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva / AFP

 

Russia on Thursday restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of maintenance, but suspicion lingered that the Kremlin would trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter.

Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the scheduled work and accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.

The showdown came amid the worst tensions in several years over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. EU states have accused Russia of squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war.

Klaus Mueller, head of Germany’s energy regulator, said gas flows were on track to return to 40 percent of the pipeline’s capacity — the same reduced level as before the maintenance work.

“But given the missing 60 percent (of supply) and political instability, there is no reason to sound the all-clear,” he tweeted.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck angrily dismissed Russian claims that it was a guarantor of Europe’s energy supply, saying that Moscow had become a growing “insecurity factor” in the sector.

“In fact, Russia is using the great power we gave it to blackmail Europe and Germany,” Habeck of the ecologist Green party told reporters.

Enduring German reliance on Russian gas coupled with alarming signals from Moscow have turned up the pressure on Europe’s top economy.

A total shutdown of imports or a sharp reduction in the flow from east to west could have a catastrophic effect, shutting factories and forcing households to turn down the heat.

Even the resumption of 40 percent of supplies would be insufficient to ward off energy shortages in Europe this winter, experts warned.

“It is obvious that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin can and will turn off the tap again when it seems strategically convenient,” said energy economist Lion Hirth of Berlin’s Hertie School.

“We must therefore prepare for a winter without Russian gas. This means that saving gas must be at the centre of all political efforts.”

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that a halt in supplies could shave 1.5 percent off Germany’s gross domestic product this year.

– ‘Will fulfil’ –

Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom cut flows to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to some 40 percent of capacity in recent weeks, blaming the absence of a Siemens gas turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.

The turbine is reportedly en route to Russia and expected to arrive on Sunday at the earliest. The German government has rejected Gazprom’s explanation as an “excuse”, noting that the turbine was one of several available.

Moscow’s grounds for the supply shortfall shifted again on Thursday, as it said gas delivery problems to Europe were caused by Western sanctions.

“Any technical difficulties linked to this are caused by those restrictions that European countries introduced themselves,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, dismissing blackmail accusations as “completely” unfounded.

Putin insisted this week that Gazprom would meet all its delivery obligations “in full”.

He warned, however, that as another gas turbine was due to be sent for maintenance at the end of this month, energy flows could fall to 20 percent of capacity from next week.

– ‘Prepare for winter’ –

As of Wednesday, German gas reserves were about 65 percent of capacity according to official estimates. Habeck said he was setting targets to boost the level to between 90 and 95 percent by November.

The European Commission on Wednesday urged EU countries to reduce their demand for natural gas by 15 percent over the coming months, and to give it special powers to force through needed demand cuts if Russia severs the gas lifeline.

Habeck, who has said he is taking shorter showers to save energy, welcomed the EU measures and rolled out a package of national policies to comply with them.

In addition to boosting its gas reserves, Germany is implementing plans to temporarily revert to more coal power, will mandate energy savings in public buildings and impose new rules for efficiency in heating homes and offices.

“We must prepare for winter,” he said.

However Greece said that it was joined by Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Malta and Cyprus in opposing the EU’s plan, arguing that they were far less dependent on Russian gas than Germany.

AFP

Russia Resumes ‘Unstable’ Gas Supplies To Europe Via Nord Stream

This file photo was taken on November 8, 2011, and shows a view of the gas pipeline terminal prior to an inaugural ceremony for the first of Nord Stream’s twin 1,224-kilometre gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea, in Lubmin, northeastern Germany.  (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP) / 

 

Russia on Thursday restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of maintenance, but uncertainty lingered over whether the Kremlin would still trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter.

Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the scheduled work and accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.

The showdown came amid the worst tensions in several years over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Germany believes Russia is squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war.

Klaus Mueller, head of Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, said that by late morning gas flows were on track to return to 40 percent of the pipeline’s capacity — the same reduced level as before the maintenance work.

“But given the missing 60 per cent (of supply) and political instability, there is no reason to sound the all-clear,” he tweeted.

Enduring German reliance on Russian gas coupled with alarming signals from Moscow has turned up the pressure on Europe’s top economy.

A total shutdown of imports or a sharp reduction in the flow from east to west could have a catastrophic effect, shutting factories and forcing households to turn down the heat.

Even the resumption of 40 per cent of supplies would be insufficient to ward off energy shortages in Europe this winter, experts warned.

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that a halt in supplies could slash Germany’s gross domestic product this year by 1.5 per cent.

– ‘Will fulfil’ –

Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom cut flows to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to some 40 per cent of capacity in recent weeks, blaming the absence of a Siemens gas turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.

The turbine is reportedly en route to Russia and expected to arrive on Sunday at the earliest. The German government has rejected Gazprom’s explanation as an “excuse”, noting that the turbine was one of several available.

Moscow’s explanation for the supply shortfall shifted again on Thursday, as it said that gas delivery problems to Europe were caused by Western sanctions.

“Any technical difficulties linked to this are caused by those restrictions that European countries introduced themselves,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted this week that Gazprom would meet all its delivery obligations.

“Gazprom has fulfilled, is fulfilling and will fulfil its obligations in full,” Putin told reporters in Tehran after holding talks with the leaders of Iran and Turkey.

He warned, however, that as another gas turbine was due to be sent for maintenance at the end of this month, energy flows could fall to 20 per cent of capacity from next week.

– ‘Blackmail’ –

As of Wednesday, German gas reserves were about 65 per cent according to official estimates. The reduced supply has prevented EU countries from replenishing holdings before winter.

The European Commission on Wednesday urged EU countries to reduce their demand for natural gas by 15 per cent over the coming winter months and to give it special powers to force through needed demand cuts if Russia severs the gas lifeline.

“Russia is blackmailing us,” Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, told reporters.

“Russia is using energy as a weapon and therefore, in any event, whether it’s a partial major cut-off of Russian gas or total cut-off… Europe needs to be ready.”

Peskov at the Kremlin said on Thursday that the blackmail accusations were “completely” unfounded.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who has said he is taking shorter showers to save energy, stressed that industry — but also consumers — would have to do their part to reduce Russia’s power in the current standoff.

“A decisive bit of leverage is reducing gas use,” he said. “We have to do everything in our power to work on that.”

-AFP

Austria Makes Emergency Plan To Cut Russian Gas Dependency

Map of Austria

 

Austria on Wednesday presented an emergency plan to reduce its reliance on Russian gas over potential supply cuts from Moscow as tensions soar over the war in Ukraine.

Under the plan, the country aims to reduce the share of gas it consumes from Russia from 80 to 70 percent of the total.

“The measures will strongly reduce our dependence on Russian gas,” Energy and Climate Action Minister Leonore Gewessler told reporters.

For the first time, the government will build a strategic reserve with non-Russian gas accessible to all industries, which would cover total consumption for two months in the winter.

It will also bar storage facilities from remaining empty.

Storage facilities of Russian energy giant Gazprom in Haidach, near Salzburg, are empty.

Gewessler said it was “no longer acceptable” for Gazprom’s subsidiary, GSA, to not stock up.

Other suppliers will have access to the facilities “if Gazprom does nothing”, Gewessler added. “It is absolutely justified.”

The European Union is aiming to slash its reliance on Russian gas by two thirds this year, but it has been reluctant to ban it outright as countries such as Germany depend on Russian supplies and fear that it would damage their economies.

The Haidach reservoirs are linked to the German gas network, but it will now be attached to the Austrian network to ensure domestic clients get supplies, she said.

Austrian gas storage is at 26 percent capacity, and the goal is to reach 80 percent before the next heating season, the government said.

The measures must be adopted by a two-third majority of lawmakers in the coming days.

Italy Chases African Gas To End Dependence On Russia

This picture shows installations at the Tunisian Sergaz company, that controls the Tunisian segment of the Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) pipeline, through which natural gas flows from Algeria to Italy, in El-Haouaria, some 100km east of the capital Tunis, on April 14, 2022.
FETHI BELAID / AFP

 

Italian ministers headed to central Africa Wednesday in an urgent quest for new energy deals as Italy scrambles to break away from Russian gas over the Ukraine war.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi is looking to add Angola and the Congo Republic to a portfolio of suppliers to substitute Russia, which provides about 45 percent of Italian gas.

“We do not want to depend on Russian gas any longer, because economic dependence must not become political subjection,” he said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera daily published on Sunday.

“Diversification is possible and can be implemented in a relatively short amount of time — quicker than we imagined just a month ago,” he said.

Draghi was due to go himself but after testing positive for Covid-19, sent Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani in his place.

They were due to arrive in Luanda on Wednesday evening, before heading to Brazzaville on Thursday, accompanied by Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Italian energy giant ENI.

“This is a race against time to make sure we stock gas and oil for the next winter season,” said Francesco Galietti, head of Rome-based consultancy Policy Sonar.

In Angola, the ministers were due to meet with President Joao Lourenco — who also spoke by telephone Wednesday with Draghi — before signing a “declaration of intent” on energy cooperation, officials on both sides said.

A similar declaration will be signed in the Republic of Congo following talks with President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Italy’s foreign ministry said.

The foray follows the signing of agreements with Algeria and Egypt in recent weeks.

Algeria is currently Italy’s second-largest supplier, providing around 30 percent of its consumption.

ENI said the deal with Algeria’s Sonatrach would boost deliveries of gas through the Transmed undersea pipeline by “up to nine billion cubic meters per year” by 2023-24.

Transmed only had a spare pipeline capacity of 7.8 billion cubic metres per year in 2021 — though it has said it is ready to expand.

Italy has also been in talks with Azerbaijan over the expansion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

 ‘Fanciful’

The Egypt accord could result in up to three billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bound to Europe and Italy, in particular, this year, ENI said.

Italy is looking into buying or renting two floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) to allow it to import more LNG.

Diversification will not be cheap, warn experts, who foresee extra taxes passed on to businesses and families.

Davide Tabarelli, head of energy think tank Nomisma Energia, said Rome was rightly exploiting the “excellent relationships” that ENI has built up over 69 years in Africa, where it is the sector leader in terms of production and reserves.

But the idea of replacing Russian gas “in the short term” was “fanciful”, he told AFP. “It will take at least two or three years.”

The government said it expects to get the floating regasification units into place within 18 months.

It has also talked of kick-starting stalled projects for two onshore regasification plants, which would take some four years to build.

 ‘Operation thermostat’

Italy is one of Europe’s biggest guzzlers of gas, which currently represents 42 percent of its energy consumption, and it imports 95 percent of the gas it uses.

The government hopes to reduce that by accelerating the investment in renewables and has vowed to cut red tape on wind and solar farms.

Draghi has called for a collective sacrifice, asking Italians this month: “Do we want to have peace or do we want to have the air conditioning on?”

His rallying cry was met with some grumbling in a country feeling the effects of global heating, which science shows is driven by the human burning of fossil fuels.

Undeterred, the government is readying the so-called “operation thermostat”, which could see the public sector turn down heating in schools and offices by one degree, and the equivalent for air conditioning in the summer.

The rule would apply to private households and companies too, though it would be difficult to police.

It could save some four billion metric cubes of natural gas a year — or around 14 percent of the total gas imported from Russia, according to La Stampa newspaper.

AFP

Gas Prices ‘In God’s Hands’, Producers Warn As Ukraine Crisis Sparks Surge

The MV Epic St George LNG (liquid natural gas tanker) passes the Esso Oil refinery in Fawley, near Southampton, southern England on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Major gas exporting nations said Tuesday they could not guarantee prices or supplies at a summit overshadowed by the worsening Ukraine crisis which has pushed costs to record highs in Europe.

Qatar’s emir, who hosted the talks, said gas producers were working to ensure “credible and reliable” supplies, on the same day as Europe’s concerns over deliveries from Russia were further hit by Germany’s decision to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

The Gulf state’s energy minister said his country would help Europe as much as possible, but that the unprecedented prices paid by Europe’s consumers were “in God’s hands”.

Leaders and ministers from the 11-member Gas Exporting Countries Forum met after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent and sent in troops. Germany responded by freezing the huge gas pipeline from Russia.

With Russia a key member of the exporters’ forum, the Ukraine crisis was not mentioned in talks, officials said, or the final statement.

Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov made no reference to the tensions but he told the forum that “Russian companies are fully committed to existing contracts” for gas supplies.

READ ALSO: Pope Warns Of ‘Increasingly Alarming Scenarios’ In Ukraine

The United States has asked Qatar to help Europe if Russian supplies are cut, but its Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said his country could not rescue Europe alone.

Russia accounts for about 40 percent of the European market and Qatar five percent.

It would be “virtually impossible” for one country to replace that amount of gas, Kaabi told a news conference. Qatar’s supplies are also tied up in long-term contracts, many with Asian countries including Japan, South Korea and China.

“We are supportive of the European Union and we are ready to supply whatever is possible from our side and the volume that will be available while abiding by contracts,” Kaabi said.

The minister estimated that 10-15 percent of shipments under Qatar’s long-term contracts could potentially be diverted.

But he insisted that the record prices in Europe had their roots in a lack of investment before the Ukraine crisis.

– ‘Preserve stability of markets’ –

Qatar and other producer nations want long-term contracts of up to 25 years to “underpin” the huge investments made in extracting, processing and transporting gas.

“Everything that is going on today in pricing is fundamentally because of a lack of investments and that will take time to catch up,” Kaabi said.

Asked whether European consumers would have to pay more because of the Ukraine crisis, he said: “Predicting how prices will be, (whether they) will go up or down, that is in God’s hands not mine.”

The summit statement made no mention of increasing supplies and instead stressed the “fundamental role” of long-term contracts and linking gas prices to oil values to bolster investment.

But Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said forum countries were “working hard to ensure a credible and reliable supply of natural gas to world markets and preserve the stability of those markets”.

The emir said the forum wanted more intense talks with gas importers “to ensure the security of natural gas supplies and the stability of global gas markets”.

Even before the sharp rise in energy prices over the past year, major gas-producing nations had said they needed long-term contracts to guarantee supplies to consumers.

The European Union has until recently resisted the 10-, 15- and 20-year contracts typical in the industry. Qatar and others say long-term deals are necessary to cover the massive investment needed to increase production.

The summit was also attended by presidents and prime ministers from Algeria, Iran, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said his country wanted to increase production and exports but was being held back by what he called “cruel and unnatural” US sanctions against his country.

Major powers are negotiating with Iran to revive an accord regulating its controversial nuclear programme that could provide relief from the crippling sanctions.

High Gas Prices To Hit Demand In 2022, Says IEA

File photo

 

Demand for natural gas is expected to fall sharply in Europe and slow in Asia this year as prices have rocketed to record heights, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

Gas demand rebounded last year as the world economy recovered from the Covid pandemic and restrictions were eased, while an unusually cold winter also drove up consumption, the Paris-based IEA said.

“Supply did not keep pace which, combined with unexpected outages, led to tight markets and steep price increases, putting the brakes on demand growth in the second half of 2021,” the agency said in a report.

Consumption grew by 4.6 percent last year, more than double the decline experienced as the pandemic emerged in 2020, said the agency, which advises governments.

How demand will fare in the short-term will depend on the weather during the northern hemisphere’s heating season, the report said.

“Assuming normal temperatures, growth of the natural gas market is expected to be slowed by higher gas prices and softer economic expansion, while supply tensions may ease as offline capacity gradually returns,” the IEA said.

READ ALSO: Qatar Emir Meets Biden In Shadow Of Ukraine Tensions

Global demand is expected to grow by a more modest 0.9 percent this year to stand at 4.1 trillion cubic meters after surging by 4.6 percent in 2021.

Global production, meanwhile, is expected to increase by 1.6 percent to 4.2 trillion cubic meters.

Demand is expected to fall by more than four percent in Europe while it would slow in Asia, from a “robust” seven percent in 2021 to five percent this year.

Fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could further fuel Europe’s already sky-high energy prices.

Buhari Promises To Take Action On Cooking Gas Price Hike

Timipre Sylva

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is aware and concerned about the hike in the price of gas and is promising action to ameliorate the situation.

He said this while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with the President in his office where he presented CEOs of two new agencies: the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) at the statehouse.

Read Also: Terrorists Plotting To Establish Camp In Niger, Govt Raises Alarm

The minister explained that the government has no control of the prices and rather, it is the international market that primarily determines the price of the commodity.

Sylva, however, assured Nigerians that some elements of the pricing will be adjusted internally to enable a reduction, particularly in view of the Yuletide season.

President Buhari Meets With NMDPRA, NUPRC CEOs

President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva (2nd left), Authority Chief Executive, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Engr Farouk Ahmed (2nd right) and Commission Chief Executive, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr Gbenga Komolafe (1st left) during a meeting at the State House. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. NOV 23RD 2021

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with the CEOs of two new agencies: the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC), Farouk Ahmed and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Gbenga Komolafe at the statehouse.

They were led into the meeting with the President by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Sylva said the President is aware and concerned about the hike in the price of gas and is promising action to ameliorate the situation.

Read Also: Buhari Promises To Take Action On Gas Price Hike – Petroleum Minister

The minister explained that the government has no control of the prices and rather, it is the international market that primarily determines the price of the commodity.

He, however, assured Nigerians that some elements of the pricing will be adjusted internally to enable a reduction, particularly in view of the Yuletide.

Buhari Asks Nigerians To ‘Embrace Gas As Alternative To Fuel’

We Will Surely Leave A Better Nigeria For Future Generations – Buhari
File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari speaks at a dinner with National Assembly leaders in Abuja on July 11, 2019.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to embrace gas as an alternative to fuel in the country.

The President made this call on Tuesday during the unveiling of the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative

“I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers,” he said.

“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing the support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.”

On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the Ministry is focusing on the development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.

He said that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium-term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”

READ ALSO: FG Launches Autogas Programme In Abuja

The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari said from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly petrol.

Kyari insisted that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that President Buhari is passionate about.

According to the NNPC boss, the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

ECONOMY: PRESIDENT BUHARI APPRECIATES NIGERIANS FOR PATIENCE, URGES MORE USE OF GAS AS ALTERNATIVE TO PETROL

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja appreciated Nigerians and Organized Labour for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad economic challenges, assuring that the Federal Government is working hard to ameliorate the situation.

Speaking at a virtually held event at the State House to unveil National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative, President Buhari said:

“Let me now express my deep appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, and Organized Labour for its maturity and patriotism as we collectively navigate these global economic and other challenges.’’

The President urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to fuel, noting that:

“It is no longer news that the vast Natural Gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with have hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilization.

“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and the additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.’’

President Buhari said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.

“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.

“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.

“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’

The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’

“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing the support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.’’

In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said the Ministry is focusing on the development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.

He added that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium-term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari informed that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly PMS, insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.

He added that the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

December 1, 2020

Another Tanker Explosion Leaves Many Critically Injured In Lagos

 

Residents of the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos were on Thursday afternoon sent into a panic as a rancorous explosion rocked the neighborhood.

What started out as a wet and rather calm day quickly turned into a frenzy at about 3:30 pm when a loaded gas tanker exploded around the Iju Hill axis of Ajuwon road.

Some witnesses say at least one person died in the blast that comes at a moment when the nation is trying to come to terms with a similar carnage that left almost 30 including students, dead in Lokoja.

The incident in Lagos left 16 persons critically injured, while scores of buildings and many cars were destroyed, some beyond repair.

A Damaged Tanker?

Speaking to Channels Television on Thursday at the site of the explosion, LASEMA’s Director of Operations, Engr Olatunde Akinsanya said the 16 injured persons were taken to the Iju Water Works clinic.

Akinsanya revealed that the ill-fated 30 ton LPG tanker which was being operated by Manna Gas Ltd, was supposed to offload its content at a gas station, but the station’s owner reportedly refused to allow him because a seal had been broken, indicating that the content had been tampered with.

Enraged by the refusal of the station manager to offload the content in his tanker, the driver moved out of the premises.

A few meters away from the gas station, the front tire of the tanker burst and the gearbox compartment struck the ground causing a spark that led to an explosion when it came in contact with gas that was leaking from the tanker.

The vehicle ended in a ditch, where a second explosion erupted.

Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the second explosion sent the tanker flying and destroying buildings in its path, including a church.

The impact of the explosion spread about 300 radii from the scene of the incident, the LASEMA official said.

It was not yet clear at the time of reporting this story whether the driver of the tanker was still alive as he seemed to have sustained third-degree burns.

“I would have died with my children”

Narrating her close shave with death, Mrs. Maduka Lovelyn, a fruit seller said she had just returned from the market and was arranging her wares when the first blast erupted.

Mrs. Maduka and her kids were tending to customers when they saw a thick cloud of smoke rising a few meters from where her stall is situated.

The perturbed mother said she and her children were lucky to have escaped because they fled at the first cry of “fire! fire!” by some other residents who were closer to the blast spot.

“We were scared as we saw the smoke, it was too much,” Mrs. Maduka stressed as she revealed how it took a race through marsh and mud to get her family to safety.

Increasing casualty figures

Earlier in the day, the Lagos State Government had put the casualty figure at 16, however, a post-disaster assessment late on Thursday revealed that the total number of casualties is 30, consisting of 10 adult females and 20 adult males.

The report further shows that two of the 16 in critical conditions have been referred to the General Hospital in Ikeja.

LASEMA figures suggest that a total of 23 buildings were destroyed in the blast, while 15 vehicles were left with varying degrees of dents.

Prominent among the buildings destroyed are the X and Y Event Center and the Idera Oluwa Plank Market where 15 shanty shops were engulfed.

A tragedy, one too many

The fires stirred by the explosion have been extinguished and damping down has being carried out, but many questions trailing this incident are yet to be answered.

One such question is what should be done or is being done to ensure that there is no repeat of such an ugly incident, as Nigerians have witnessed such a horror too many times, with some happening in quick successions.

Thursday’s explosion comes just a few hours after 23 persons were killed following a tanker explosion at the Felele axis of Lokoja the Kogi State capital.

Over five vehicles were completely burnt in the road crash and eyewitnesses say some of the victims include students of Kogi Polytechnic.

The accident occurred after a truck laden with Premium Motor Spirit lost control following a brake failure and rammed into five other oncoming vehicles.

Eyewitnesses say over 50 people may have been killed in the blaze, including some residents who were waiting to board commercial vehicles by the roadside.

Reacting to the explosion, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, expressed shock and sorrow.

“It is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” he said.

Two-day mourning was declared in honour of the victims of the tanker explosion, but the masses ask for more to be done.

As with several incidents of this nature, many become emotional, sometimes tempers run wild and people blame the government.

Often, promises are made with assurances that the root causes of these accidents will be looked into, and the people can only hope that in no distant time, words will be matched with action, to ensure that such disasters are averted.