In Peru, there is plenty of natural gas but it costs a lot to massify its consumption

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Lima, Sep 23 (EFE) .- In Peru, where Camisea is located, one of the largest natural gas reserves in South America, there is literally plenty of this fuel. However, geographic and logistical difficulties make the mass use of its use difficult despite its enormous environmental and economic benefits.

The physical distance and the complicated orography of the country, on the one hand, together with the concentration of possible markets with economic interest in the city of Lima and its immediate surroundings, on the other hand, make it difficult to establish a scale that enables the necessary multi-million dollar investments to move the gas.

In addition, the costs to transform the vehicle matrix to one that uses natural gas as fuel are still high for small and medium professionals in the sector, and the refueling stations are too few to allow massive use by transporters despite being treated. of a much cheaper fuel than diesel.

CHALLENGING SCHEMES

Gonzalo Tamayo, former Minister of Energy and Mines of Peru and one of those responsible for the economic analysis group Macroconsult, summarized the situation to Efe as follows: “Elements of a geographical and economic nature make the costs of carrying gas high, because you need extensive and complex infrastructure to reach markets that are not very large. “

“And to solve that, challenging schemes are required in how the costs of that infrastructure and in the cost of gas are paid, so that in the end the user switches to natural gas. The price signal that is sent to the consumer needs to be attractive enough to switch from one fuel to another that is more efficient, economical and more environmentally friendly, “he said.

According to the analyst, infrastructure costs are too high to be offset through mass consumption even in cities like Arequipa or Cuzco, which are among the largest and most economically thriving in the country.

This circumstance draws a situation in which only a public intervention to generalize the consumption of this cheaper fuel, more friendly to the environment and with more stable prices that are not subject to external variables in Peru.

“This imbalance between cost and efficiency requires some type of subsidy from the State,” he stressed.

BLESSED BY GAS

In the same way, Gonzalo Castro de la Mata, manager of External Affairs of Pluspetrol, the company that leads the consortium that exploits Camisea and that has embarked on a struggle to massify the use of natural gas in the country, said.

“Peru is a country that has been blessed by gas, we have it in abundance and we have plenty of gas. There is enough gas to export, to supply domestic consumption and now we reinject 25% of what is produced. We have excess. And that gives many advantages. It is much cheaper than diesel, much less polluting than other fuels and we have it in abundance. It is totally logical for Peru to make use of its gas, “he reasoned.

Thus, among other initiatives, the Camisea Consortium has financed the installation in the Cuzco region, where the deposit is located, of three centers for the dispensing of vehicular natural gas (NGV), a step to encourage its use among transporters.

That NGV is a fuel that reduces risks in case of leaks or accidents is also an aspect that is being disseminated among professionals in the sector.

Also, by virtue of an agreement with the Ministry of Energy, Camisea will make available to consumers 50 million cubic feet per day of natural gas (about 300,000 gallons per day of diesel) at a promotional price, all with a view to making it cheaper and attractive. this fuel.

Likewise, it has arranged a fund of 39 million dollars to promote the acquisition of NGV buses and trucks, which are more expensive than a diesel vehicle, but which with the savings in fuel prices “pay for themselves,” said Castro de the Mata.

MISSING?

“The overcrowding is advancing, it can advance and it will advance faster, but there is a lack of infrastructure to transport gas to homes and there is a lack of incentives to promote its use. And these are things that must be promoted, they cannot be done alone. economic incentives, private companies and the State have to work together to promote all these options that exist, “said Castro de la Mata.

Thus, discouraging the use of other more polluting fuels such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), for environmental reasons or economic efficiency, or encouraging the transformation or importation of NGV vehicles would be some options.

For Tamayo, these possibilities, as well as the subsidies, are a necessity, although he warned that like everything “it should be sought to be temporary, transitory and as efficient as possible measures.”

“In the end, the consumer must be given the price signal that he will save by connecting to natural gas. Thus, the price he pays for gas has to be competitive. And if that becomes stable, it will change,” the analyst insisted.

(c) EFE Agency

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