LPG As Alternative to KeroseneArticles/Opinion, Latest News Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
By Kareem Saheed
Availability and Affordability of kerosene and its numerous woes seem to be the topic of 8 in 10 discussions in recent times. A statement of fact is that in an ideal situation, Kerosene should be cheap and readily available for fueling homes in a country with vast petroleum resources and its Governments desire to ensure that its citizenry benefits from the abundance, by subsidizing the cost. However, the reverse is the case where kerosene is scarce, very costly, and rarely gets to the final consumer at the subsidized cost.
The scarcity of kerosene and its resultant high cost is due to a large number of factors which range from diversion for use in the aviation industry through to its use for construction by construction companies to its being smuggled across the borders. The list is endless.
Kerosene over time has posed and still poses a huge financial burden on our nation and this must be taken very seriously. Contemporary nations like Indonesia depended heavily on kerosene for fueling homes but in recent times have switched from kerosene as ‘home’ fuel to a more efficient and affordable energy and have nationally saved billions of dollars that have been channeled to other uses.
In addition to the question of availability and affordability of kerosene, are its health implications. The World Health Organization has put the annual global deaths resulting from indoor air pollution from cooking at a whooping four million (4,000,000) – more than the deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Going by this data, it leaves a lot to be imagined as regards what happens in Nigeria with the ‘face me, I face you’ and general living conditions that exist.
Frankly, even though the ideal situation was in place, kerosene should not even be used as fuel for homes. Reasons being that it is a ‘dirty’ fuel and its usage comes with gross health implications. It is a clear case of using your own finance to jeopardize your own health and environment. Let it be left for use as aviation fuel and for construction.
Undoubtedly, our homes must be fuelled but the time has come for that fuel to be switched to a better and more efficient energy foe cooking. We must not and cannot continue with the present trend with regards to kerosene availability and affordability when we can fuel our homes with a more efficient, available and affordable substitute – LP Gas.
For those who may not know what LP Gas is, it’s simply what is commonly known as cooking gas. LP Gas is available and affordable and its benefits are numerous besides being globally rated as the most efficient household energy. This is the reason the European Union Sustainable Energy for All launched the Cooking For Life programme (SEE4ALL) which aims to transit one billion people from use of traditional fuels to the use of the cleaner burning and more efficient LP Gas by 2030.
LP Gas is available in the country. The domestic quantity available for consumption is approximately 840,400MT out of about 3.2 million tonnes being produced in the country. As at 2013, the national consumption is estimated at a minimal 250,000MT which is approximately 30% of what is available for consumption and we still belabor ourselves with long queues for kerosene which is not healthy, is equally time consuming besides the drain on the Federation account.
In between the gap between quantity being consumed and quantity being reserved for consumption lies huge potential for market expansion, business development (SME’s), employment and diversion of funds to provision of other tangible infrastructure for the betterment of the citizenry.
One of the numerous concerns/questions with regards to LP Gas when thrown in an open conversation is its cost. But as is today, when benchmarked against the cost of kerosene and energy content deliverables, LP Gas is cheaper. It may also be interesting to note that since the LP Gas industry is deregulated, as consumption increases, market forces are bound to set in and the price is also bound to drop further from its present status following the demand and supply market dynamics.
Taking an intricate look at the present household fueling situation in the country, the fueling solutions in our homes actually lie in the switch to LP Gas – the most efficient energy.
* Saheed sent this piece from Lagos
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