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NGC bets big on CNG
Having successfully expanded the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the local market, NGC CNG Ltd is looking to deepen its footprint in two Caricom Member States-Jamaica and Guyana.
Gerry Brooks, chairman, NGC Group of Companies, and Curtis Mohammed, president, NGC CNG spoke with Business and Money in an interview last Tuesday, at NGC’s booth, at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.
Confirming that experts from the Guyanese government had contacted NGC CNG, Mohammed said their intention was to purchase equipment to facilitate CNG in their country.
Mohammed noted, however, that a Guyanese contingent was invited to visit T&T on September 14.
“They (members of the Guyana Energy Agency) came, they met with maxi taxi owners, they met with new car dealers, visited stations and met with those who converted. This is the GEA, it is the agency that advises Cabinet about what the potential would be. They would have come with their people and would have written their report.
“If we could participate with small energy cargo with Guyana, certainly we would want to be in that space, or we might want to be in the space of vehicle supply (to the Guyana market).”
According to Brooks, the Guyanese market is one which was very attractive and presented a number of opportunities for NGC CNG.
He added Guyana’s energy sector has tremendous potential especially with the Liza 1,2,3 wells, as well as other discoveries which were made.
Specifically, Brooks said Guyana was developing more aggressively from an oil standpoint than from a gas standpoint.
The gas, he said is “associated gas used more for injection back into the wells to accelerate production and for fuel as well. This is an early recognition by the GEA of the work that T&T is doing, specifically NGC CNG, and we’re trying to see how we can take advantage of the work and the model laid down here.”
Looking at the Jamaican market, Brooks said the company is considering signing a memorandum of understanding with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica to develop the relationship further.
He added that Jamaica was important not only from a CNG standpoint, but the Jamaican portfolio also included liquefied petroleum gas, lubricants, diesel and oil as well as a gas-based market.
He said when the company enters the Jamaican market, CNG would not be the only area the company would look at.
The domestic market
Since launching the CNG initiative in 2015, Brooks said a lot of headway has been made with five stations having been launched in one year alone, with a target of accelerating this in the final quarter of 2017 and in the early part of 2018.
School buses, taxis, hired car users, conversion of government vehicles and maxis are some of the main areas which NGC CNG has been targeting.
The network of stations will be expanded to include Sangre Grande, Point Fortin, Rio Claro and Santa Flora.
With one station in Tobago to be constructed in 2018 in Cove Park, Mohammed said, “We have some stations actually under construction right now. We have McBean Couva on that stretch, they have been in construction for some time now. There is a station in construction right now in El Socorro off the highway. Another one in Munroe Road is also under construction. Chaguanas is completed, it’s just to switch on the lights. On O’Meara Road, our gas line is already there, and what we need to do is let them finish to a certain point.”
Brooks said the largest CNG station is going to be constructed at the Preysal roundabout.
He noted that the business community was an area of special interest to the company.
“If I am a manufacturer in business with a number of trucks on the road in retail, we are prepared to sit and have a conversation with you, once there is a line close by to convert your fleet of 50 trucks per day.”
He predicted that the business community would be receptive to this initiative.
The NGC chairman said in order to stimulate demand for CNG, what was needed was to increase the confidence in CNG, increase the number of stations, improve the CNG technology and finally the economics of the business.
Concerning its work with PTSC, there are currently 35 buses which are CNG compliant and another 35 are expected to come into the country in March 2018.
Brooks also assured that the relations among the PTSC, NP and other stakeholders was strong.
Touching on the issue of hybrids and electric cars, and how it would impact NGC CNG’s offering in the T&T market, Brooks said he believed the impact would be minimal.