Natural gas market set to expand

The use of natural gas as a fuel is expected to expand in the UAE with the development of distribution networks.

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By  Alison Luke Published  September 9, 2006

The use of natural gas as a fuel is expected to expand in the UAE with the development of distribution networks. Pilot projects are underway for the fuelling of hybrid vehicles with natural gas; the larger scale use of the fuel to supply properties is expected to follow. Dan Danesh, general manager of Lootah BCGas stated: “[The market is] forced to use LPG at the moment, but this is not good because the market costs are high. “Within the next year the process will start towards the conversion from the use of LPG to compressed natural gas (CNG) in the region,” he predicted. Several construction projects already underway have been designed for a simple change of fuel use. Danesh explained: “On the Palm, for example, all distribution is based on LPG, but the tank farm at the base of the trunk can convert to accept CNG when it is available.” Natural gas fired chillers are another option being examined. Lootah BCGas is talking to district cooling firms to discuss using gas for power instead of electricity. The changeover of fuel is dependent on the construction of distribution networks, which are reported to be imminent. The Dolphin project onshore receiver station has already been built. In a pilot project in Abu Dhabi, 35 vehicles have been converted to use CNG in addition to petrol. Fifteen fuelling stations are planned for construction in the next 18 months. Natural gas emits less pollution when burned than LPG, and it disperses quickly so exhaust flues may not be required. Cost is also a significant factor: “Energy costs will fall tremendously with a switch to natural gas,” stated Danesh.

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