This article is aimed at showing you how to tap into this thriving business by giving you some useful information that will help you in your quest to start a gas plant in Nigeria.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has come to be an increasingly popular source of cooking fuel for Nigerian homes. This is mainly because kerosene is either not available or it is too expensive.
Another reason that is currently driving the demand for LPG as a cooking fuel is the fact that it burns cleanly, does not leave you kitchen all smoky and also does not leave a bad smell behind.
Another thing to note is that the government currently encourages people even in the rural areas to focus more on using LPG for cooking instead of using firewood. This is because the apart from the fact that using firewood is a major cause of deforestation, it also poses health challenges to those who use it as cooking fuel.
All these points highlighted goes to show why the demand for LPG as a coking fuel is currently on the rise and could potentially be on the rise for a long time to come.
Apart from homes, LPG is also an important fuel that is used for firing in industries.
It is very obvious that this business is quite a lucrative one. However, this does not mean that you can just jump into it without making adequate plans and expect to be successful. That is the reason for this write up. The intention is to guide you on how best to start this business.
Some of the points to note are;
As with any business venture, the location of your gas plant is very key. In the case of this one, it is most peculiar. A good place to locate your gas plant is in proximity of a sprawling residential area. This is to ensure that you are not too far away from your target market. You do not want your customers to have to travel unnecessarily long distances to reach your business place.
Despite the fact that you should have proximity of the target market in mind, do not forget that you are dealing with a highly inflammable product. Hence you must also ensure that your intended location is not surrounded by residential buildings.
In Nigeria, all state governments have departments that have the responsibility of ensuring that such businesses are located where they will not be a hazard to the people.
In a nutshell, while you are picking a location, ensure that it is not too far away from residential areas but also check with the authorities to make sure that you are also not too close.
As we have always reiterated in this forum, it is most important to register your business with the corporate affairs commission (CAC). This is because it is in line with the laws of Nigeria. Failure to do so will attract some very stiff penalties from the authorities and in some cases, criminal charges.
In order for you to be seen as running a legitimate business, it is important to do this.
It is also very important for you to find out if there are other bodies you have to register with apart from the CAC. For example, in the case of an LPG plant you also have to get permission from the department of petroleum resources (DPR). You should also find out if there are any location specific registration that has to be done. This is because in Nigeria, various states have their laws and requirements for you to be permitted to do business in their state.
After selecting your location and registering your business, it is now time to set out about raising up your building.
For a gas filling plant, you will need a bulk storage bottle. This is where you will store the gas you have bought in large quantities. It is from this storage bottle that you will then retail to your customers.
You will also need to build an open refilling bay. This has to be open because the accumulation of LPG is both poisonous and highly explosive. There is need for constant flow of fresh air to your refilling area.
There is also the need for you to build a small office where administrative and cash transactions will take place. A small room will normally suffice for these purposes.
For the filling mechanism, various technologies exist. One way to do business is to collect empty cylinders from your customers and give them a refilled one.
Another way is a more high tech approach where customers can come to pay for the quantity of gas they want in kilograms (KG) and you deliver this to them. In this approach, you will need expensive high tech weight sensing equipment to monitor the gas being dispensed. The down side of this system is the cost. You will need quite a substantial amount to purchase the pumps and digital weighing systems.
This is quite important. You will definitely need some staff, both skilled and unskilled to help you to run your business adequately. At the minimum, you should employ a security guard, secretary / accounts officer and a technician to handle the refilling process. If you have the time in your hands, you can take up some roles.
There is no use setting up a good business and not letting the world know about it. The importance of advertisement to a business cannot be over emphasized. You can make use of flyers and posters to spread the word about your business.
You must always be willing and ready to seek more information about new trends in the business. It is also important that you monitor the market trends so that you can prepare yourself for any eventuality.
As you set about this business, do not forget that you will be dealing with very inflammable products. NEVER take any safety precaution for granted. Ensure that you have bold and conspicuous warning signs to alert both staff and customers of the fire hazard that exists within the premises.
Make sure you have fire extinguishers handy in your premises. Also ensure that your staff are well trained on how to operate then in the event of any emergencies.