Maputo — The sole filling station in Maputo equipped to refuel vehicles that run on compressed natural gas was repaired on Friday night, according to Jose das Neves, general manager of the company Autogas, cited in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
The breakdown was serious, because this station is used to refuel the gas-fired buses of the Maputo municipal bus company, TPM. The only other Autogas filling station is near the Mozal aluminium smelter, just outside Matola.
Thus, since 25 December when the breakdown occurred, owners of gas-fired vehicles in Maputo have had to drive to the Mozal filling station in order to refuel.
The breakdown was in the compressor, and Autogas had to pay about 19,000 US dollars for the spare parts to be flown to Maputo from Brazil.
The spare parts arrived on Thursday, and by Friday night the Maputo filling station was back in working order. Neves said the new equipment is being monitored and is so far functioning without any problems.
Autogas is planning expansion, in partnership with the publicly owned fuel company, Petromoc, and three more filling stations in Maputo and Matola will be equipped to handle compressed natural gas in the near future.
In principle, converting vehicles to run on Mozambican natural gas rather than on imported liquid fuels makes good economic sense, since the gas is much cheaper. But the initial capital cost in converting from petrol to gas, and reliance on just two filling stations are doubtless the main reasons why there are still only 700 gas fired vehicles in Maputo and Matola.