Maputo — The company that converts vehicles to run on natural gas, Autogas, has stated that it doubts that the government will be able to meet its target of converting ten per cent of its fleet of vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG).
The general manager of Autogas, Jose das Neves, told the electronic newspaper "Mediafax" that the government has done nothing to implement its National Energy Strategy in relation to CNG.
"Until this is enacted into law the strategy is just an intention. It cannot force the State to comply", Neves told a press conference in Maputo to mark the launch of a new campaign to increase the use of natural gas in the capital city and Maputo province.
Neves lamented that two years after the approval of the strategy, just over 450 vehicles in Mozambique are using CNG. Of this number, just over 50 vehicles are State owned, excluding the 156 gas powered buses belonging to Maputo's publicly-owned bus company, TPM.
Currently, Autogas is installing three gas filling stations in the neighbourhoods of Jardim in the capital, and Machava and Malhampswene in Maputo province.
Autogas believes that there are a number of issues hampering the conversion of the State's fleet to natural gas, such as resistance to change and prejudices. However, Autogas believe that these obstacles could be removed if a legal component is added to the National Energy Strategy.
Meanwhile, Autogas continues to advocate the use of CNG which offers cost advantages compared to liquid fuels. While the cost of petrol is 47.52 meticais a litre, the cost of the same amount of natural gas is only 17.75 meticais, which allows customers to save about 30 meticais per litre (at current exchange rate there about 27.7 meticais to one US dollar).
Under Autogas' new "Minimum Consumption Contract" tariff, consumers will pay a monthly fee of 6,000 meticais during a period of 18 months. The tariff includes a conversion kit and a quota of 180 litres of natural gas per month. After this period, customers will only have to pay the amount of natural gas consumed.
Following the recent discoveries of natural gas in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Autogas has set itself a target of converting 70 per cent of all vehicles in the country in the near future.
In the meantime, it plans to reach a target of 500 vehicles by the end of this year. Natural gas is pumped to Maputo by a gas pipeline from the Temane gas processing plant in Inhambane province.