‘We at Gazprom Aim to Take Gas as Fuel to a Whole New Level’
The following submission by Alexander I. Medvedev, Director General of Gazprom Export and Deputy Chairman of Gazprom’s Management Committee, highlights Gazprom’s perspective on the use of natural gas in transport, “and points out some of the major economic and environmental benefits of natural gas as a transport fuel.”
Energy connects. It fuels cars, trucks or ships to travel thousands of kilometers, transporting goods and people via ever-evolving networks. Modes of transport have always been drivers of innovation. Over the past decades, there have been technological breakthroughs in the design, speed, or size of vehicles. Today, the most urgent challenges are environmental and economic and gas is a perfect solution for greener and cheaper mobility.
The use of gas in transport already grew by 220% between 2008 and 2012 worldwide, from 13.6 billion cubic meters to 30.1 bcm. The International Energy Agency recently predicted that by 2018 alone, gas use in transport could increase by nearly 10% to 50bcm worldwide. Other forecasts say that in Europe this market segment could represent no less than 40bcm of additional gas by 2030, while reaching between 200 and 400bcm worldwide.
‘Significant Market in the Making’
As the Director General of Gazprom Export, I can’t ignore this significant market in the making. We at Gazprom aim to take gas as fuel to a whole new level. We recently acquired 12 CNG filling stations in South Germany, with a target of reaching 23 stations by the end of 2013. We plan to further expand the gas filling network in the coming years.
Thanks to natural gas, low-emission transport is not a vision of the future. Natural gas is readily available today: reliable, safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly. Natural gas powered vehicles cut CO2 emissions by 25% compared to diesel, and emissions of N2O, a far more potent greenhouse gas, by 85%. Unlike diesel or petrol, soot and carbon monoxide are reduced to virtually nothing in gas fired emissions, thus improving air quality and minimizing the impact of transport emission on our respiratory health.
Gas allows great emission reductions at a much lower cost to consumers, who can drive further for less. With €10 worth of fuel, a natural gas powered car can go approximately 220km, compared to 164 km on diesel and just 103 km on petrol. In Europe, €68 to €77 billion can be saved by 2050 when further developing the use of natural gas in transport compared to a business as usual scenario, according to the European Gas Forum. Trucks and ships have the greatest potential to generate cost savings. This is not negligible in a time of crisis!
‘We Must Better Familiarize Ourselves with the Benefits’
Still, we believe much more can be done. Collectively, we must better familiarize ourselves with the benefits of natural gas. Policy makers should realize that investing in the expansion of natural gas distribution infrastructure is more economical than technologies dependent on subsidies. Also, what can be done on their side is ensure a predictable legal environment, balanced taxation and standards on fuels. This would help to find the right way for investments needed by the sector.
This year, between the 3rd and 18th of October, around 15 gas-fired cars, buses and trucks circled the Baltic Sea, travelling from Saint-Petersburg across Scandinavia, to Copenhagen, Hamburg, Gdansk and each of the Baltic countries, following the old Hansa League trade route. For the first time, the rally will cross from Finland to Sweden on an LNG ferry, a prime example of the environmental and economic benefits of using LNG in shipping, in a heavily polluted Baltic Sea.
‘Gas-Fueled Transport Already Works Today’
The rally proves that gas-fueled transport already works today, and demonstrates that thanks to NGVs, consumers can spend less while helping the environment. It also highlights the remaining challenges: creating a denser network of refueling stations, the key to make the technology more accessible. And to avoid the chicken and egg problem, gas suppliers, vehicle manufacturers and national authorities must work hand in hand.
Since 2008, Gazprom, together with E.ON Ruhrgas and many local supporters, organizes the annual “Blue Corridor rally” which gathers natural gas-powered vehicles (NGVs). Through this initiative, we want to put the spotlight on workable solutions for cleaner and cheaper mobility in Europe.
Against this background, we welcome the European Commission’s clean transport package issued earlier this year. This proposal sets ambitious EU targets to promote more cars and fuelling stations using alternative fuels, such as gas. This is an important and necessary signal to the industry and a clear push to develop the right market conditions for CNG and LNG to take hold in European transport.
Currently, some 18 million NGVs are registered worldwide. There should be 50 million by 2020. However today, Europe only counts 1.5 million NGVs. The European Commission has fired the starting gun with its clean transport package. Governments must now follow suit. We at Gazprom are ready to engage in the race for greener and cheaper transports.
Contact information is only available to premium subscribers. Click here to purchase a subscription.
Source: Gazprom Export with Fleets & Fuels follow-up