CNG Growth Enhances National Security

CNG Growth Enhances National SecurityCNG Growth Enhances National Security

Compressed natural gas industry's growth has helped enhance Iran's national security, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company said on Monday.

Speaking in the Seventh National Conference and Exhibition of the CNG Industry and Alternative Fuels held on December 7-8 in Tehran, Nasser Sajjadi said, "The fledgling eco-friendly industry has played a key role in creating jobs, curbing gasoline import and securing fuel supply," Shana reported.

Underscoring CNG's role in curtailing gasoline consumption, he added, "If it were not because of CNG industry and gasoline rationing system, we would be consuming more than 160 million liters of gasoline per day. Needless to say, CNG has helped us restrict gasoline import. "

Latest statistics published by the Oil Ministry indicate that gasoline consumption in Iran averages 75 million liters per day, of which 6 million liters are imported.

According to Sajjadi, Iran's daily gasoline consumption stood at 21, 46 and 74 million liters in 1989, 2001 and 2006 respectively.

"Currently, 20 million cubic meters of CNG are distributed in the country via 2,300 stations, 22% of which are used in public transportation," he said, adding that the industry cannot experience a steady growth unless the government and the private sector strengthen their cooperation.

Iran is one of the leading countries in promoting CNG use that comprises approximately 22% of the country's fuel basket. So far, $2.4 billion have been invested to expand CNG use.

In a meeting on July 23 headed by President Hassan Rouhani, the Cabinet passed a law whereby the price of compressed natural gas was reduced from the current 6,000 rials (17 cents) to 5,000 rials (14 cents) per kilogram up until the end of summer. The measure is part of a drive to reduce the 60% price discrepancy between gasoline and CNG.

The scope of investment and development extends to 140,000 CNG bi-fuel taxis, the construction of more than 1,000 CNG refueling stations, 65,000 heavy-duty CNG vehicles and 17,000 intercity CNG buses, but the broadening of CNG use from this urban base requires innovation.

Iran should explore extension of CNG fuel use to marine, rail and light rail, and to the innovative use of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and dimethyl ether, as well as technology such as fuel cells and innovative hybrids of all kinds.

CNG is natural gas under pressure, which remains clear, odorless and non-corrosive. Daily consumption stands at around 20 million cubic meters, whose expansion nationwide and enabling more vehicles to burn CNG instead or beside gasoline as fuel will help ramp up CNG exports.