Starting with the opening ceremony of the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum taking place in the city’s Expoforum Convention and Exhibition center on October 7, the international Blue Corridor 2014 rally will this year showcase OEM-produced natural gas-fuelled vehicles (NGVs) along 6,000 kms of motorway through 15 countries. On October 8th, the caravan of gas-fuelled cars crossed the state frontier of the Russian Federation in the border town of Ivan-Gorod, and journeyed towards the Estonian city of Tartu.
The major organizers of the rally, the eighth since 2008, are Gazprom Export, Gazprom Engine Fuel and E.On Global Commodities. Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller provided a symbolic “green light” to announce the start of the rally.
The Blue Corridor 2014 rally’s participants will drive along the motorways of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and Belarus, finishing on October 31st.
This particular route has been chosen deliberately. Many of these countries have already been demonstrating significant demand for natural gas as motor fuel. The others are expected to show substantial growth of demand in the future. Moreover, huge benefits in these countries are linked to the use of natural gas as bunkering fuel for marine vessels.
There are five Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in Estonia, all operated by Eesti Gaas: 2 in Tallinn, and single stations in Narva, Tartu and Pärnu. The installed payment terminals (ATMs) accept credit cards and speak four languages including Russian. There are no permanent staff at the stations. The country has about 300 passenger cars and 17 buses running on CNG. Gas consumption in the transport sector has been constantly growing: in 2009, a mere 10,5 tons of CNG were marketed, as opposed to 737 tons in 2013. The current forecast for 2014 is 2000 tons (2.7 million m3).
Round-table expert discussions will be held during the stops in Tartu, Riga, Vilnius, Poznan, Plzen, Nuremberg, Milan, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Budapest and Minsk. In these cities, gas and car industry representatives, politicians, ecologists and motor fans will be able to share their views on various aspects of the developing NGV market in Europe.
In Tartu, the head of the Department of Municipal Economy, Rein Haak, says: “The experience of deploying the first 5 CNG buses has become a basis for the municipality to plan a larger procurement. It is still hard to predict how many methane buses will be purchased. But it could amount to 25-50 new buses. As a result, we can determine the perspectives for the development of the NGV market in Estonia.”
(Source: Blue Corridor)