An indigenous energy firm, OMAA has rolled out Nigeria’s first locally assembled natural gas-powered buses and are already producing in volumes.
The roll out took place at its facility in Igbo Ukwu near Nnewi, Anambra, in the presence of Dr. Ishaku Abner, Technical Assistant (Downstream) to the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Pat Igwebuike, Special Adviser to the Anambra State Governor on Legal Matters, and Dr. Mohammed M. Ibrahim, Chairman of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).
OMAA manufactures factory-fitted dual-fuel vehicles to meet the growing demand for vehicles that run on cleaner energy sources within Nigeria and across Africa. The company showcased its facility and demonstrated its ability to cater to energy demands for the transportation and energy industry with natural gas.
The event is coming on the heels of the Federal Government’s declaration of the decade of gas, a commitment to diversify the economy and see Nigeria develop and commercialize its gas resources.
According to the NNPC, domestic demand for natural gas will rise from current levels of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf) to 7.4 Bcf by 2027.
Mr. Chinedu Oguegbu, Founder and CEO of OMAA, said at the event “This is the beginning of a trend that will revolutionize not just the transportation industry but the energy industry in Nigeria, by accelerating utilization of the abundant natural gas resources we are endowed with”.
He noted that the buses are rugged and more durable because they are adapted to Nigerian roads; the company is also expanding its network nationwide to ensure quality aftersales and availability of spare parts.
Speaking at the roll-out, Dr. Mohamed M. Ibrahim mentioned, “OMAA has been a robust partner of the National Gas Expansion Program and there is no doubt that the company is on track to make a tremendous impact in the energy and transportation industries”
In her remarks, Mrs. Pat Igwebuike stated “it is delightful to see such innovative developments take place in Anambra state. With this technology, I believe that OMAA will eventually become a staple brand in the industry”.
Taking advantage of the African Union’s latest charter on free trade, Oguegbu noted “with AfCFTA already in force we hope to expand our service beyond Nigerian borders, exploring opportunities in Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion population”.
“Whatever the need for our development and industrialization as a people today, we should be sustainable in our approach and think of the livelihood of future generations.
“Whether we like it or not, climate change is real and the use of gas as a transition fuel reduces the damage done by biomass, not just to the environment but to human health”, he noted.
World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently released a report that showed that 3.8 million people die yearly from illnesses attributed to household pollution arising from inefficient use of solid fuels and kerosene for cooking.
Oguegbu further stated that OMAA was also committed to job creation and in due course will have a phased migration in its operations when it transits from semi-knocked down (SKD) to completely knocked down (CKD) operations. That way, it will be “localizing more components, up-skilling staff and contributing to the burgeoning automotive ecosystem”.
He claimed that “by switching to CKD, we will end up creating more jobs for the teeming youth population in the country. It is a part of our overall policy where we commit to training and retraining our people. Sourcing components in-country also has a positive impact on the local supply chain as capacity utilization, jobs, value addition all move in the right direction”.
The company plans to introduce within the next year a wider portfolio of solutions to address the energy demand in the residential, commercial, and industrial markets, using natural gas.