Development of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a vehicular fuel
In the 2011 budget, Government proposed the development of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a vehicular fuel in Trinidad and Tobago. In June 2013, Government agreed to an investment by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) in respect of the development of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a vehicular fuel in Trinidad and Tobago. The program would entail the construction of CNG stations, the conversion of vehicles and other activities such as public education and marketing. A subsidiary company of NGC called NGC CNG Company Limited (NGC CNG) was established on September 03, 2013 and a President (Ag.) of NGC CNG was appointed on January 03, 2014. The major benefits of the development of CNG as a vehicular fuel in Trinidad and Tobago are as follows:
- Reduction of the subsidy on liquid fuels sold in the domestic market.
- Availability of the displaced liquid fuels for export.
- Increased usage of an environmentally friendlier fuel that offers reduced Green House Gas (GHGs) emissions.
CNG Price Reduction
The new CNG retail price of TT$1.00 per lge and price structure were made effective on 03 October 2014 by Legal Notice 294 of 2014, The Price of Compressed Natural Gas (Amendment) Order, 2014.
CNG Fiscal Incentives
A number of fiscal incentives for CNG were approved in the Finance Act No. 13 of 2010. These included:
- MVT and VAT removed on imported new and used (less than 2 years old) OEM natural gas vehicles
- Removal of duty on components for the retrofit of vehicles to use CNG
- For non-business – 25% tax credit for conversion cost up to a limit of $2,500 per vehicle
- For business – Capital uplift of 130% for wear and tear allowance
CNG Refuelling Infrastructure
There are currently ten (10) CNG refuelling stations which are available to the general public. There are two (2) CNG stations under construction at Orange Grove and Wrightson Road and three (3) CNG stations which have been given approval by the Ministry to commence construction, located at Tumpuna Road, El Socorro and Diego Martin. When completed, these five (5) stations will be able to dispense both liquid fuels and CNG to the general public. Additionally, there are two (2) new dedicated CNG stations which have recently been constructed. These are located at the NGC Field Office in Point Lisas and at Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) Compound in City Gate. The NGC station commenced operation in January 2015 and is used to fuel NGC’s fleet of CNG vehicles as well as CNG vehicles owned by employees of the company. The PTSC station was commissioned in February 2015 and is used to fuel PTSC buses.
On 15 May 2014, NGC CNG executed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with both the Trinidad and Tobago National Petroleum Marketing Company (NPMC) and the United Independent Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (Unipet) outlining the terms and conditions for the respective companies with regard to the provision of additional CNG fuel station equipment at existing or upgraded CNG service stations, as well as the possibility of new and mobile CNG stations.
In July 2014, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) held a CNG public seminar to sensitize existing and prospective CNG licence applicants of the MEEI’s requirements with respect to applications. This was done since the MEEI had been receiving applications that were incomplete or unsatisfactory. The objective of the seminar was to provide potential applicants with a thorough understanding of the CNG licence application process and also to promote greater buy-in into the Government’s CNG Programme.
CNG Conversion Centres
Massy Automotive Components Limited (MACL) is currently the only holder of a CNG Service Licence (CSL). The CSL grants permission to install, maintain or repair an approved CNG Vehicle (CNGV) system on any vehicle. Several companies have applied to the MEEI for CSLs. Two (2) of the applications for CSLs received provisional approval in August 2015. All of the applications for CSLs are being processed and are in various stages of completion.
CNG for Mass Transit
The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) procured thirty five (35) new, dedicated CNG buses to add to its fleet. These new CNG buses have been successfully integrated into the PTSC fleet of buses. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the NGC CNG and the Association of Maxi Taxi of Trinidad and Tobago on 15 May 2015. This MOU outlines the proposed terms and conditions related to NGC CNG’s role and contribution in support of the acquisition of Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) CNG Maxi Taxis. The NGC CNG has been accepting applications for the grant outlined in the MOU since 03 August 2015.
CNG Sales Volumes
The following table provides the volume of natural gas sold through the service station network as CNG over the last five years:
|Year||Volume of CNG sold (lge*)|
*(lge – litre of gasoline equivalent)
Update on CNG Implementation by NGC CNG:
In phase one of the CNG mandate, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago approved the construction of twenty two (22) new CNG stations and upgrading several others. In 2015, two (2) new stations for fleets were opened i.e PTSC City Gate, Port of Spain and NGC Warehouse Pt Lisas. In 2016, seven (7) new public stations are listed to be opened. They are: Starlite Diego Martin, St Christopher’s Wrightson Rd, Ramco Orange Grove, O’Meara Arima, Tumpuna Rd. Arima, Santa Flora and Harkness Mc Bean, Couva. In addition the PTSC station will be expanded at City Gate and 6 existing stations will be upgraded. NGC CNG has also procured five (5) Mobile Refuelling Units (MRS’s) which will be used as needed. Consideration is being given to deploying at least one of the units to Tobago, in lieu of a permanent station being constructed.
The NGC CNG is shouldering the responsibility of procuring and maintaining equipment for the service station network and consistent with the GORTT approved pricing structure. Twenty Four (24) sets of Compression, Storage and Dispensing equipment have been initially ordered. The Compressors are heavy duty reciprocating compressors designed for intermittent or continuous running with minimal maintenance. The compressor is belt driven by an electric motor. The IMW-50 series Compressors, are nominally rated at 3600 psig output pressure and 600 standard cubic feet per minute CNG delivery. All IMW-50 Compression stages are non-lubricating, ensuring a high quality, oil-free discharge gas.
The Public Service Transport Corporation (PTSC) was one of the first companies to support the CNG mandate, with the purchase of 35 new OEM CNG buses in late 2014. Those buses have been operating on scheduled routes since January 2015 and their attractive comfortable features and clean emissions have been a welcome change. Several other State agencies have embraced the switch to CNG including National Petroleum (NPMC), Petrotrin and soon the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). So far some existing automotive firms and various leasing companies have begun importing OEM CNG vehicle models.
With over 800,000 licensed vehicles in Trinidad and Tobago, a huge potential exists for conversions. This involves some minor modifications in a vehicle’s fuel supply system and the installation of a CNG tank in the trunk of the vehicle. The Phase 1 target of the CNG Initiative for total vehicles fuelled by CNG is 17,500.
Several companies applied to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries to obtain their Conversion license. Those applications are in various stages of being processed. One licensed converter currently exists, Massy ACL in Arima. Several others are in various stages of approval and expected to be licensed to fulfil the CNG mandate and thus satisfy the expected demand for thousands of conversions.
Incentives & Grants:
NGC CNG in 2015 introduced one grant aimed at hundreds of Diesel powered Maxi Taxis in the country, which provides a valuable transport service to the general public. The grant was for Maxi Taxi owners to take out of service and scrap their Diesel powered vehicle and replace it with a CNG powered alternative. Owners who took out of service a small Maxi Taxi (15 seats or less) would receive TT$45,000 and those who took out a large Maxi Taxi (more than 15 seats) would receive $75,000 towards the purchase of a CNG powered Maxi Taxi. This spurred several Maxi Taxi suppliers to source CNG powered vehicles which are being offered for sale in Trinidad and Tobago.
Training & Standards:
The National Energy Skills Centre in collaboration with NGC CNG provided a training programme for CNG Engine Maintenance technicians in 2015 and another tranche of training started in March 2016. The programme provides the technicians with an opportunity to understand the operations, diagnosis and maintenance of CNG gasoline and diesel engines.
A CNG standard was also developed by a working committee of industry professionals by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards and a calibration workshop was also conducted in November 2015. NGC CNG Chaired the committee in its deliberations.
The attractiveness of CNG as a clean, cost effective and stable source of fuel for vehicles is not only being embraced in Trinidad and Tobago, but across the globe as well. Fleet owners from courier service UPS, to heavy-duty transit bus manufacturer New Flyer to solid waste disposal companies, have made significant investments in CNG fuelling technologies. Progressive companies have embraced CNG as a fuel, which reduces their operating cost and is in harmony with worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
For more Information on CNG visit the NGC CNG website: www.cng.co.tt