Brazil’s 1.5 Million Natural-Gas Car Fleet to Grow 10%

Natural gas car from Brazil Vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) are expected to grow 10% this year, in Brazil. The information was supplied by the coordinator at the CNG committee of the Brazilian Institute of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (IBP), Rosalino Fernandes. Last year, the total number of natural gas-powered vehicles grew 14%.

According to data for April this year, the southeastern Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro hosts the majority (655,540 vehicles) of the country's CNG-powered vehicle fleet, which totals 1,541 million. Second is the state of São Paulo (SE), with 377,416 vehicles. According to the IBP, approximately 10% of the world's total natural gas-powered vehicle fleet is in Rio de Janeiro.

The coordinator for Compressed Natural Gas at the IBP stated that the reduction in the CNG market growth expectation this year is a consequence of the power supply crisis that took place in late 2007, when the country had to resort to gas-fired thermoelectric power in order to avoid a power shortage, in the face of low water volumes at reservoirs. That led the market to retract.

"That is affecting market demand for CNG in the market to this day. But the situation tends to improve, because (Brazilian state-owned oil company) Petrobras is going to make available a greater amount of natural gas coming from the Campos Basin (Rio), which should total 30 million cubic meters per day," asserted Fernandes.

Furthermore, Petrobras is now receiving 28 million cubic meters/day of natural gas from Bolivia. That yields a total of 58 million cubic meters/day of gas to cater to all natural gas segments, including CNG, thermoelectric plants, households, industry, and retail. CNG consumption alone is 6.9 million cubic meters per day.

Therefore, according to Rosalino Fernandes, there is a surplus of 8 million cubic meters/day of natural gas, out of the total made available by Petrobras.

"This is great news. We have a supply of gas that is greater than the market demand. Also, Petrobras should start supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) as of July. That LNG should go to thermoelectric plants. There will no longer be a crisis like that of November 2007, when LNG projects had not yet been executed and were not available. Thus, the situation should improve in 2008," he asserted.

Fernandes ensured that the outlook is optimistic from now on. He claimed that the market tends to forget the crisis of 2007, gradually increasing CNG demand.

The global CNG market and the industry trends was the theme of the 11th International CNG Congress, which the IBP and the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles (IANGV) promote earlier this month in Rio.

ABr

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