General Electric's conference on Liquefied Petroleum Gas was held in Abuja on the 8th and 9th of June.


It had as its focus the exploration of LPG as a viable option for power generation. In line with this concentration on the potential of LPG as an energy source for countries like Nigeria, the speakers sought to intimate those in attendance of the practical applications of LPG in providing industries with a clean and reliable alternative to the most traditional fuels such as diesel. Equipment financing, LPG availability and the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) initiatives on LPG market expansion were also discussed at the conference.


A presentation on a GE-Vitol driven energy solution involving the use of LP Gas was made by two speakers: Dr Christoph Reiminitz, Global Structuring Leader, Gas to Power (GE); and Guillaume Quiviger, Africa power development, LPG Growth and Infrastructure (Vitol Investment Group). The objectives of this presentation were to introduce LPG as a fuel suitable for use by Nigeria's industrial and commercial consumers and to give a detailed description of LPG-based power generation solutions jointly devised by GE and Vitol. The speakers noted that in Nigeria, LPG use was almost totally restricted to cooking; LPG, being a cheaper and cleaner alternative to diesel, should be viewed as a more efficient option for powering the engines of industry. The solution touted by GE and its partners at Vitol involves the use of high-efficiency, fuel-flexible engines to be powered by LPG. This solution targets commercial, industrial, oil and gas, and agricultural sectors.


Presentations made on the second day focused on equipment financing and the possibility of expanding the LPG market in Nigeria. David Keefer, Director of GE's Power Global Growth Initiative, spoke about his company's financing plans for customers, which was part of a package that also includes efficient engines and clean energy.


The NNPC also contributed to the conference with a submission by the manager of its LPG department, circling in on the potential for LPG use in Nigeria, as well as obstacles which stand in the way of its increased use in the country. The presentation fingered cost issues, supply and logistic bottlenecks, and a relative lack of awareness on the part of Nigerians about LPG as factors that have kept demand for the product at low levels. The market for LPG products could be given a boost with the provision of incentives by the government for potential investors in LPG. In concluding, the NNPC's presentation underlined the fact that the benefits of turning to LPG for power generation will be enjoyed by individuals, industries and government.


GE's conference served as an opportunity for the experts to present LP gas as a safer and more reliable solution to Nigeria's energy provision problem. It was shown that current developments in LPG based power generation technology are making its use even more efficient- another reason why Nigeria should make the switch to LPG if it is to close its energy needs gap.

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