• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Gazprom’s gas vehicle development offer lesson to African state-owned oil, gas companies

Gazprom’s gas vehicle development offer lesson to African state-owned oil, gas companies

Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo (Gazprom Gas-Engine Fuel), one of the subsidiaries of Gazprom Group, has boosted the development of the natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel market in the Federation of Russia, offering reforms leeway to African countries, especially Nigeria, that is looking to cleaner energy to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on its citizens.

Established in 2012 as the single operator responsible for developing the NGV fuel market across Russia, Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo, the company sells natural gas as a vehicle fuel and expands the network of compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations under the brand names Gazprom and EcoGas.

“The Gazprom Group is the engine for the development of Russia’s NGV market. Since 2012, the number of NGV refuelling facilities across Russia has tripled, totaling 728 stations by the beginning of 2023,” Gazprom said.

The state-owned company owns more than a half (56 percent) of those CNG filling stations and they are located in 64 regions of the country.

With Africa boasting a significant 620 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gas reserves and Nigeria accounting for 35 percent of it, the market for CNG vehicles and stations is still underdeveloped.

Experts and stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have called on the Nigerian governments to adopt the use of natural gas as a substitute to other dirty fossil fuels as it is cleaner and cheaper.

There has also been an intense drive to adopt this reform as palliatives to the Nigerian citizens for the removal of fuel subsidy in the country.

Since the removal in May, Lagos State has signed a deal with Oando Clean Energy Ltd. (OCEL) to convert some of its diesel combustion engine Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Buses into CNG engines.

While the OCEL deal is still on and about 10 buses converted to gas, in what looks like the pilot phase of the CNG bus project, the firm also delivered two electric BRT buses, ushering in the electric BRT bus phase in Lagos.

Read also: INQ introduces AI solutions to fix Nigeria energy challenges

Last week, Ogun state said it has employed the services of a team of technical engineers from India to begin the process of converting vehicles from fuel to CNG. Other states government are also in talk to move in this direction, opening up a gap that needs bridging in the sector.

Gazprom said private investors have taken interest in the construction of gas filling stations under the Gazprom brand name: as of the beginning of 2023, as many as 11 facilities owned by third-party companies were in operation under franchise contracts.

The demand for gas as a vehicle fuel is steadily growing across Russia. Its total domestic sales have increased fourfold since 2012, amounting to about 52.97 bcf (1.5 bcm) in 2022.

The Gazprom Group works closely with Russia’s largest automakers in relation to broadening the lineup of NGVs. Russian factories have launched the batch production of over 230 natural gas-powered vehicle models by now, which include passenger cars, trucks, buses, and special-purpose vehicles.

“Car owners in Russia are converting their vehicles to natural gas. There are currently about 290,000 natural gas-fueled vehicles in Russia, including 21 percent of them converted under the incentive programs of Gazprom Gazomotornoye Toplivo,” the state-owned company said.

NGV fuel market development in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a leading region in Russia in terms of the use of natural gas in transport. There are 13 NGV refuelling facilities of the Gazprom Group in the city.

Last year, over 1.59 billion cubic feet (43 million cubic metres) of compressed natural gas was sold via the network of Gazprom’s CNG filling stations in St. Petersburg.

The city government offers incentives to car owners for converting to natural gas. For example, natural gas-fueled vehicles in St. Petersburg are exempt from transport tax since 2021. Moreover, bus fleets with gas-powered vehicles gain extra points when participating in tenders for passenger transport services.

Also in the period, St. Petersburg switched to a new transport service model. Among the transport reform objectives is to replace diesel bus fleets owned by carrier companies with gas-powered ones. As a result, about 2,500 modern and comfortable public buses run both on compressed and liquefied natural gas.

Gazprom’s CNG filling station-3 on Kubinskaya St.

The CNG filling station-3 on Kubinskaya St. is one of the stations, which are mostly used by urban public transport. The station refuels the bus fleet of the Passazhiravtotrans city unitary enterprise, which is located nearby.

At present, Passazhiravtotrans operates 301 buses powered by natural gas (14.2 percent of the total number of buses owned by the enterprise).

According to the management of Gazprom, CNG filling station-3 is intensively used by trucks and cars. More than 706293 cubic feet (20,000 cubic metres) of gas is sold daily at the station.