The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says the adoption of methanol fuel technology will drive low-cost and efficient transportation and improve power generation in the country.
The minister said this during the presentation of report of Technical Committee on Methanol Fuel Technology Implementation Programme to oil and gas industry stakeholders in Lagos.
The report was prepared through collaborative effort of the Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Petroleum Resources
and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Onu noted that the methanol fuel technology programme would transform the transportation and power industry, while enhancing the standard of living of citizens.
According to him, the technology will eliminate the challenges of gas flaring and add value to the nation’s huge natural gas resources, saying that research has proven that methanol can be used as alternative fuel.
The minister said “Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, ranks ninth in the world in 2016, and is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas.
“The country’s oil and natural gas industry typically accounts for 75 per cent of government revenue and 90 per cent of total export earnings.
“Due to the lack of necessary utilisation infrastructure and low technological capacity, Nigeria still flares a lot of the natural gas it produces .
“This amounts to about 12.5 per cent of the world’s total gas flaring according to World Bank estimates. However, natural gas can be used for the production of methanol,” he said.
Onu said that gas could be harvested and converted into methanol for industrial use, as well as fuel production, adding that it would reduce the cost of fuel, boost power supply, create wealth and employment opportunities in the country.
He urged the oil and gas stakeholders to collaborate with government to actualise the project in the transportation and energy sector before the end of the second quarter.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said government was interested in the technology which constitutes 15 per cent methanol and 85 per cent of PMS to reduce gas flaring in the country.
Kachikwu, represented by Mr Talson Bege, a Director in the ministry, said that methanol was cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and the technology would help Nigeria to reduce emission target.
The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the programme was timely in view of Nigeria’s quest to diversify its energy mix.
Represented by Mr Ojo Emmanuel, a Director in the ministry, Fashola said “global energy crisis has attracted the attention of both developing and developed countries to explore and find out new means of energy sources to meet this ever-increasing demand for its economic activities.
“One of the means of these energy sources is methanol fuel technology which the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology intend to deploy for low-cost and efficient transportation and electricity generation in Nigeria,” he said.
He noted that the deployment of biofuel technology was a major component of the country’s renewable energy development, saying it would impact on fuel production and consumption value chains in Agriculture, Environment and technology sectors of the economy.
“The inter connected energy production system will provide savings, both in capacity and fuel cost, at the same time ensuring reliability and continuity of power supply cum transportation for the achievement of the overall economy,” he said.
Prof. Gloria Elemo, the Director-General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, (FIIRO), said that efficient transportation and electricity generation were key indicators and drivers of a nation’s economy and science, technology and innovation are strategic players in actualising both.
She said that technology would lead to diversified and sustainable national economic growth and development.
Elemo said that oil and gas may have increased the country’s earnings, but a diversified economy through the sourcing and implementation of alternative means of efficient transportation and electricity generation was the way to go.