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Methane MARKET reborn.

GC "Factor" plans to launch five CNG stations.

Last year was extremely difficult for the owners of CNG filling kompressornyhstantsy (CNG), as against the general economic decline in natural gas prices have increased significantly and thus "collapse" retail sales. The market is actually methane metering: no one thought about the construction of new plants, and unfinished objects were postponed indefinitely. Today the situation is changing for the better: on the one hand, the purchase price of the Russian gas should be reduced, on the other - the market adapts to current conditions and finding opportunities for regeneration. For example, the "Factor" is going to the end of the year to put into operation five CNG stations.

For the most part, the decline in the market for road transport of methane began in October and November of 2008, when the financial crisis caused decline in oil prices. This has led to the price of methane on the stele was equal to the price of first propane-butane, liquefied petroleum gas and then went down and is still cheaper than natural gas. Such metamorphoses price drivers were not ready, because for many years methane was the cheapest fuel, which allows you to increase its sales. Appreciation of methane led to the fact that its implementation through CNG decreased by 30-40%. The fact that its main consumers - are drivers of commercial vehicles, always responsive to price changes and returns to the oil products at favorable prices, as well as industrial enterprises, most of which were shut down because of the crisis.

Panic among the owners of CNG stations increased, as in the first quarter of last year increased the purchase price of Russian "blue fuel" that did not allow to reduce the retail price of methane to the usual "cheaper LPG" and thus return customers. As a result, many companies are thinking about selling your business. After about 70-75% of the costs necessary for the purchase of CNG and transportation of natural gas, in other words, you can only save on salary and number of employees or the same in the maintenance and repair. However, these measures do not provide a significant reduction in the retail price of methane. According to the director on the construction of CNG filling stations and "Factor" Alexander Gorbunov, "if the earnings of methane 1 UAH / l, half of this amount is spent on costs, providing work station. Thus, the owner is 40-50 kopecks. / L net earnings, which makes it very difficult to further business development. According to my sources, last year Ukraine was not commissioned any new filling stations. Their construction has been stopped - in the development of the market has created a significant pause. Currently, methane is the gas station UAH 3.96 / L, while propane and butane - 3.7, and in fact before the difference between them was one of the hryvnia in favor of methane. New pricing policy has led to the fact that only the modules are actively growing liquefied natural gas.

 For reference. The current contract for the supply of Russian natural gas to Ukraine was signed January 19, 2009 Base price was included in the $ 450 thousand cubic meters. m

In the first quarter of 2009, the purchase price of Russian gas was $ 360/tys. cu. m, in the second - $ 280, in the third - $ 198.34 in the fourth - $ 208.12.

April 21, 2010 in Kharkov were signed addendum to the contract on which the payments for gas "Naftogaz of Ukraine" will provide a discount on the value of reducing the export duty on supplies to Ukraine, which is set by the government. As expected, the decrease of $ 100 thousand cubic meters. m, but not more than 30% of the price of gas, and will apply to 30 billion cubic meters. m in 2010 and 40 billion cubic meters. m - in the following years.

In the first quarter of this year, the price of Russian gas imported by Ukraine was $ 305.68 thousand cubic meters. m, in the second - $ 236.

Revision of gas contracts, offers hope for the revival of the market. After all, if the price of "blue fuel" to decrease by $ 100 thousand cubic meters. m, as promised by the government, then the market will be able to develop methane.

"Factor" is going this year to commission five stations. In particular, the end of the Ivano-Frankivsk, Luhansk region Perevalsk, Krivoy Rog (two stations) and Cherkassy. It is noteworthy that in Cherkassy is not about the construction of CNG stations from scratch, and the expansion of existing facilities. "We have been in a low-power station equipment, the constant growth of clients increases the queue and create the discomfort. Therefore, we have decided to replace the old compressor with a more powerful Italian that dastvozmozhnost increase daily implementation. The project - a step towards the consumers, as it saves them from the queue "- govoritA. Gorbunov. In general, he says, the projects the company started last year, but the crisis changed - they were suspended. Thus, the company is planning to build a network of CNG stations, which would cover the area from Ivano-Frankivsk to Lugansk, creating a so-called "blue corridor". The main purpose of it is - to give drivers the opportunity to safely pass through the country, refueling at its stations.

The company hopes that the situation will not repeat last year, as markets environmentally friendly fuel should be developed. We are preparing the documents for the next year - "Factor Capital" plans to build five more stations. Sites are selected in Ternopil, Poltava, Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk region. Perhaps the new CNG stations will also appear in Kirovograd and Makeyevka, Donetsk region. "It is difficult to predict the development of the current circumstances. Between methane and propane-butane is a bitter struggle zapotrebitelya. "If gas equipment for liquefied natural gas costs two to three times cheaper than methane. If the equipment for liquefied natural gas to fuel costs of 180 thousand UAH, and the lower limit for CNG stations - 5 million USD. If the retail price of both types of gas almost equal - it is clear that methane business becomes less profitable, and the payback period of stations increases, - said A. Gorbunov. - But if you look at the situation is complex, then the future of methane. Society is becoming more educated, choose environmentally friendly products, and in this respect methane outperforms petroleum products. "

For example, in European countries the ratio of engines running on methane, propane and traditional petroleum products, about the same. There are various programs that support drivers in choosing a more environmentally friendly fuels. Better known in this respect the experience of Italy, which has become the world's largest manufacturer of compressors for CNG stations, where a large portion of the park CNG vehicles account for passenger cars, not the usual for us trucks and shuttle buses.

Ukrainian experience has shown that the program at the state level does not work. However, local projects to realize the power of provincial or municipal authorities. The company today is in talks at this level for a transfer to methane municipal and regional transport. And in the industrial structure of the "Factor" came chemical engineering plant "Chemmash" on the basis of which is planned to produce lightweight composite cylinders for the conversion of vehicles to methane.

For reference. "Factor" is well-known in the automotive methane, because he was one of the first to develop this area of private sector companies. The first project started in 2004 and today it consists of a network of 12 existing CNG stations.

It is worth noting that the current domestic enterprises do not produce such products, it only imported (increased exchange variation of dollar and euro against the hryvnia has led to higher prices for HBO, which also inhibits the drivers to move to methane. Last year, vehicle conversion to natural gas virtually disappeared). Having at its disposal its own production, the company is ready to partially fund future municipal and regional program to install HBO. This comprehensive approach allows the calculation of the market for road transport of methane will continue to develop.