By Grace Airhule.
SAPET GAS, the pioneer Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessel to be named under Ivorian origin and carry the national flag, has made its historic maiden voyage to Cote d’Ivoire, ushering a whiff of clean energy into the country.
The 23,000-cubic metre capacity vessel which cost CFA 26 billion was received by Ivorian energy minister Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Petroci director-general Vamissa Bamba, and Sahara Group executive director Temitope Shonubi, among others.
SAPET GAS, being a clean fuel, is projected to enhance butane supply, availability, efficiency and distribution in Cote d’Ivoire to spur economic development and safeguard the well-being of over 28 million Ivorians. It will also help facilitate access to the commodity for over 50 million people in neighbouring countries.
The Ivorian government had subsidised butane gas across the nation to increase accessibility, reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of firewood by households, said energy minister Coulibaly.
“This policy has made it possible to significantly increase the national consumption of butane gas, which has thus increased from 150,000 MT in 2012 to 510,000 MT in 2021; that is an average growth of 14 percent per year,” he said.
The energy minister hailed the PETROCI/SAHARA partnership, particularly the Sahara Group for investing in the acquisition of the vessel, which was commissioned in Ulsan, South Korea in May, dedicated exclusively to importation of butane gas into Cote d’Ivoire.
Sahara Group executive director Shonubi said facilitating investment in gas infrastructure and supply reinforces the company’s commitment to driving energy transition in Africa.
“We are privileged and delighted to work with the government and good people of Cote d’Ivoire to make clean energy accessible to all Ivorians. For Sahara, SAPET GAS is an affirmation of our commitment to Cote d’Ivoire. We made a promise and we have delivered,” he said.
Also speaking, Petroci DG Bamba commended Sahara Group for working assiduously and harmoniously with all stakeholders since the energy conglomerate began operations in Cote d’Ivoire. He said the partnership, SAPET ENERGY, commenced in October 2020 when the first stone for the construction of three butane spheres with a total capacity of 12,000 tons was laid to enhance the butanisation policy.
“This storage infrastructure will increase existing storage capacities and can take us from 15 to 30 days of self-consumption. SAPET GAS will guarantee the supply of butane gas to our country under good conditions of safety and quality,” Bamba said.
Sylvestre Emmou, Mayor of the Municipality of Port-Bouët, said the port would play its strategic role of ensuring the maritime industry contributes its quota to promoting access to energy solutions in Cote d’Ivoire.
Named after the joint venture between Sahara and Petroci (National Oil Company), SAPET GAS will be instrumental to realising the supply of about 1,000,000 tons of LPG to Cote d’Ivoire over the next three years. This will be alongside other vessels, Africa Gas, Sahara Gas and Barumk which are affiliated with energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group.
Sahara Group’s partnership with Petroci continues to increase access to gas as a cleaner fuel option with over CFA 279 billion invested since 2014. SAPET’s 12KT LPG storage facility project remains on course. The facility upon completion will promote supply, distribution and access to cleaner fuels in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, among others.