Mozambique: More Than 2,000 Maputo Vehicles Run On Natural Gas

Mozambique: More Than 2,000 Maputo Vehicles Run On Natural Gas

More than 2,000 vehicles powered by natural gas are now on the roads in Maputo city and province, according to Autogas, the company that converts vehicles to run on gas rather than liquid fuels.

Speaking to AIM, the general manager of Autogas, Joao das Neves, said that, if the trend to replace petrol and diesel by gas continues, than Mozambique could save perhaps 500 million US dollars on its bill for imported fuels over the next ten years.

The number of vehicles powered by gas rose from 700 in 2013 to over 2,000 now.

Autogas has just invested 800,000 dollars on expanding its gas distribution network. That money went into a multiple filling station, built under a partnership between Autogas and the Maputo municipal bus company, EMTPM. It guarantees that several buses can refuel at the same time, and ends the long queues if buses for refueling.

This unit is on EMTPM premises, and is intended only for the municipal buses, It cannot be used by private motorists.

Autogas has concentrated its efforts in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola bebause this where over 60 per cent of the vehicles in the country are circulating. Das Neves said that Autogas is building up the largest possible client base in Maputo before starting operations in other parts of the country.

Currently there are only five refueling posts in Maputo for gas-powered vehicles. Neves said that Autogas expects to set up a further two later this year.

The company’s technical director, Nuno Fernando, was less upbeat in a Thursday press conference, where he admitted that Autogas is running into difficulties in obtaining more clients, “which makes our project not very viable in the short term”.

The price differential between natural gas and liquid fuels is enormous. Currently a litre of petrol costs 44 meticais (about 1.3 US dollars) at Mozambican filling stations. The equivalent amount of natural gas costs just 17 meticais. But the drawback is the initial capital cost of converting vehicles to run on gas.

Autogas had serious problems in the past when it depended on supplies of gas trucked into Maputo. But its EMTPM filling station is linked directly to the gas pipeline operated by the National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH).

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