Residents of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State are embracing the use of cooking gas and are increasingly turning away from kerosene as many retail outlets open for business in the state capital, according to a check by Businessday.
Akwa Ibom state is one of the major oil producers but does not boast of any petrochemical facility like a refinery or a publicly owned gas processing plant.
According to experts, Nigeria has 187 trillion cubic feet of gas and ranked 7th in the world. With its current utilization rate, the country’s gas reserve base is expected to last least 100 years.
But despite the huge has reserves, many households in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital have long been accustomed to using kerosene for domestic purposes more so, the product has been cheaper and affordable until recently.
According to the check, with the cost of kerosene remaining high at more than N250 per litre, more costly than premium motor spirit (PMS) which sells for N145 per litre, many residents appear to have turned their back on kerosene and are embracing cooking.
This is coming on the heels of several cooking gas retail outlets scrambling for space in the city to open for business.
The check showed that at least three cooking gas retail outlets have opened a shop on Aka Etinan road in Uyo metropolis within a few metres away from each other while similar shops have sprung up along major streets.
At one of the retail outlets located within a petrol service station in Uyo, an attendant who did not disclose his name told our reporter that they are facing stiff competition with the upsurge of cooking gas retain stores but would continue to serve their customers with delight.
‘Yes, we have another retail outlet a few metres away, it does not hurt our business because we are determined to serve our customers better,’’ he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the proliferation of cooking gas retail outlets in the city was due to the slash in the price of the product per kilogramme or it was a way of turning to clean energy by the residents.
The check also showed that apart from the small retail outlets, there are also medium-size cooking gas companies operating within the city with many of the smaller businesses found in residential apartments and roadside shops. This has also raised a concern about the safety of residents as many of the outlets are located within residential areas.
A resident, Atim Ekpenyong told our correspondent that switching to cooking gas was not difficult for her adding that with gas cylinders of various sizes available, refilling has become pocket-friendly.
She added however that as a backup, she still keeps her cooking stove handy in case the gas runs out in the evening while she is preparing a meal for her family