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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday announced that it had commenced the integration of biofuels production from selected energy crops through its agriculture development programme.
It stated that it had started mobilising to site on a first large-scale commercial biofuels venture in Nigeria, adding that it would plant an energy crop known as Jatropha and convert the extracted oil from its seeds to biodiesel to fuel diesel engines.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this during the Environment Dialogue on the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy – the Role of Jatropha.
The GMD explained that the increasing negative impact on the environment due to the exploitation of fossil fuels was promoting a global search for alternative energy that could be obtained from renewable sources.
Baru, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Renewable Energy Division, Mr. Rabiu Sulieman, said, “As one of its key focus areas, the NNPC is currently diversifying its products portfolio for enhanced and sustainable energy mix. This, we are doing by integrating biofuels production from selected energy crops with a robust agric development programme.
“Based on commercial considerations, Jatropha ranks second to oil-palm as the biofuel of choice for biodiesel production in the NNPC biofuels programme.
Baru said, “Though the feedstock for this first project slate is sugarcane, we intend to cultivate Jatropha plants around the peripheries of the plantation and sidelines of the internal road network.
“This will safeguard against livestock encroachment, while the oil that will be extracted from the Jatropha seed will be converted to biodiesel to fuel the diesel engines of the plantation machineries.”
Meanwhile, Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, traded above $52 per barrel on Wednesday for the first time since June, as data showed a fifth straight weekly decline in the United States crude inventories.