On the 30th of December, 2022, the Punch news broke the news that over 200 persons were displaced, with goods and property well worth millions of Naira being destroyed, following a fire outbreak in Elekahia, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The cause of this incident was said to stem from a kerosene explosion within the Elekahia area. Considering the volatile and dangerous nature of this fuel, one can only question why it remains in usage among Nigerians.
An Overview Of Kerosene Usage In West Africa And Nigeria
Kerosene is a commonly used source of fuel in many West African homes; used mostly for lighting lamps and cooking, particularly in rural areas where access to cleaner fuels and electricity may be limited. It is also considered to be a good source of fuel for small engines, such as those found in water pumps and generators, predominantly in remote areas.
Studies have shown that one of the main advantages of kerosene as a fuel is its affordability. It is generally less expensive than other fossil fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and even LPG. There is also its availability to consider in the West Africa , kerosene is far more accessible and easy to get for daily consumers and business owners, relatively easy to store and transport, making it a practical choice for households and businesses.
According to the World Bank in 2018, kerosene is the primary source of energy for cooking and lighting for many households in Nigeria. In 2018, kerosene was used by approximately 27% of households in the country. This data then was considered to be a significant decrease from prior years, as the use of kerosene had been steadily on a decline in Nigeria over the past decade.
However, it is worth noting that these statistics may not be completely accurate, as they are based on household surveys and may not capture all forms of kerosene usage in the country. In addition, one can also deduce that kerosene use may vary significantly from one region to another within Nigeria.
Thus, one can state that the LPG industry has seen a significant boom in the past decade or so, with many of the Nigerian populace leaning towards this cleaner and sustainable energy but there has also been a decline in its usage in the past two to three years. According to Hydrocis, LPG consumption dropped by 13% in 2022 which is a significant decrease for the country’s LPG industry.
The use of kerosene in Nigeria does have an impact on the use of LPG due to a number of factors, including the high cost of LPG, the lack of infrastructure for distribution and sales of LPG, and the lack of awareness about the benefits of LPG.
Recommendations for the Nigerian LPG Industry
There are several steps that the Nigerian Liquified Petroleum Gas industry can take to increase the adoption of LPG in the country:
1. Lower the price of LPG: One of the main barriers to the adoption of LPG in Nigeria is the high cost of this fuel. The LPG industry can work to lower the price of LPG by increasing production and distribution efficiency, negotiating lower prices for raw materials, and finding ways to reduce taxes and duties on LPG. It should be noted that the journey to adopting sustainable energy consumption is based on affordability. If it is not affordable then it might not be sustainable, at least from the perspective of the average Nigerian consumer.
2. Improve distribution and marketing: The LPG industry can also work to improve the distribution and marketing of LPG in Nigeria. This could include buiding new infrastructure to distribute LPG, such as pipelines and storage facilities, and working with retailers and distributors to increase the availability of LPG in different parts of the country.
3. Educate consumers about the benefits of LPG: Many people in Nigeria may not be aware of the benefits of LPG, such as clean-burning properties and efficiency. The LPG industry can work to educate consumers about the benefits of LPG and the advantages it has over other forms of energy, such as kerosene.
4. Work with the government to promote LPG use: The LPG industry can also work with the Nigerian government to promote the use of LPG in the country. This could include lobbying for policies that favour the use of LPG, such as tax breaks or subsidies, and working with the government to increase funding for LPG infrastructure and education programs.
Overall, by taking steps, the Nigerian LPG industry can help to increase the adoption of LPG in the country and make it a more widely used and accessible form of energy.