CNG INDUSTRY OF PAKISTAN

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst
, PAGE
May 25 - 31, 2009

The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) industry is rapidly growing and playing a vital role in reducing emission for giving more cleaner and friendly environment worldwide and particularly in Asia. Pakistan possesses a well developed and extensive gas distribution network. Today, Pakistan has become among one of the world's biggest CNG countries after taking over Argentina's position in July, according to GM Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP). The country has more than 2,500 CNG stations and over 6115 licenses, which have been issued by the OGRA. Currently, Pakistan has 1.55 million CNG vehicles, which are 18 % of the total vehicles. With monthly conversion rates as high as 14,000, strong environment support and active participation by the private sector, Pakistan expects to continue to see a growing CNG market share and approx 1000 new CNG stations will be built in the country in the next three years.

CNG INDUSTRY GROWTH IN PAKISTAN

YEARS NO, OF NGV'S NO, CNG STATIONS
2000 50,000 150
2001 100,000 218
2002 200,000 360
2003 350,000 475
2004 500,000 633
2005 800,000 835
2006 1,150,000 1,190
2007 1,500,000 1,949
2008 1,800,000 2500
Various sources NGV'S: Natural Gas Vehicles

Moreover, there is a growing need of environment friendly buses all over the country especially in the cosmopolitan cities like Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar. Infact, couple of private intra bus operating companies have already initiated the idea and converted their buses into CNG but the fueling their fleets and energy crises refrains the new comers into this environment friendly industry of CNG.

BENEFITS OF CNG INDUSTRY

There is no doubt that our CNG industry is one of the fastest growing industry in the world, therefore it will help to phase out diesel buses, wagons and mini- buses in urban areas for better economy and environment.

Diesel oil is a deficit product for Pakistan. However, the share of CNG 15%, gasoline 14% and Diesel is 71% in road transport sector. During 2007-08 Pakistan imported 4.5 million tones of diesel oil at a cost of about US $ 3.86 billion. Therefore, because of this situation the Government plans to bring 8000 CNG buses on the roads soon, which have earmarked US $ 64 million under this project. The Government further plans to establish large CNG Filling Stations and other infrastructure for buses. New dedicated CNG buses (CBU) will be exempted from 15% import duty. Two Local Bus manufacturers have also started the production of CNG Buses.

WORLDWIDE AVERAGE CNG GROWTH RATE FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS

Global 30.6%
Asian industry 49%
Pakistan's industry 57% (Fastest in the World)
Various source

COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG) (31 Dec 2008)

Sale price Rs. 427.15 per MMBTU
Minimum charges: Rs. 14,403.31 per month
Source: OGRA

TECHNOLOGY

CNG can easily be used in Otto-cycle (gasoline) and modified Diesel cycle engines. Lean-burn Otto-cycle engines can achieve higher thermal efficiencies when compared with stoichiometric Otto-cycle engines at the expense of higher NOx and hydrocarbon emissions. Electronically controlled stoichio-metric engines offer the lowest emissions across the board and the highest possible power output, especially when combined with EGR, turbo charging and inter-cooling, and three way catalytic converters. The octane rating of CNG is far greater than Petrol and if handled correctly it can produce same or more power output from an engine provided the Compressed Natural Gas is compressed properly and accurate amounts of BTU Figures attained. CNG cylinders can be made of steel, aluminum, or plastic. Lightweight composite (fiber-wrapped plastic) cylinders are especially beneficial for vehicular use because they offer significant weight reductions when compared with earlier generation steel and aluminum cylinders, which leads to lower fuel consumption.

CNG may be refueled from low-pressure or high-pressure systems. The difference lies in the cost of the station vs. the refueling time. There are also some implementations to refuel out of a residential gas line during the night, but this is forbidden in some countries.

CNG COMPARED TO LNG AND LPG

CNG is often confused with LNG. While both are stored forms of natural gas, the key difference is that CNG is in compressed form, while LNG is in liquefied form. CNG has a lower cost of production and storage compared to LNG as it does not require an expensive cooling process and cryogenic tanks. CNG requires a much larger volume to store the same mass of natural gas and the use of high pressures. CNG is also often confused with LPG, which is a compressed blend of propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10).

CONCLUSION

In Pakistan, the CNG industry has already invested over US $ 1500 million and about US $ 500 million is expected over the next five years. The CNG is a fuel of choice. It is no more an alternate fuel but a preferred fuel. It is clean, cheap and abundant. International forums like the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development have accepted it as a policy option to address air pollution, which is major threat to human health, and environment that needs to be addressed in an integrated manner at the national, regional and international levels.