A total of 10,900 petrol- or diesel- run motor vehicles have been converted into compressed-natural-gas (CNG)-operated ones in the previous Myanmar capital of Yangon as part of the country's efforts to save fuel and reduce import of crude oil, a local weekly reported Tuesday.
Of the converted motor vehicles, passengers buses accounted for the majority with 5,274, followed by school buses with 1,099 and taxis with 2,902. Others went to trucks, departmental cars and private ones, said the Weekly Eleven News.
As the existing 20 CNG filling stations cannot meet the increased number of CNG-converted vehicles, long queues of cars awaiting for gas filling have created shortage of cars running on the roads with passengers outnumbering the buses thus causing delay in transport, said passengers relying on buses for their work attendance.
The authorities are striving to introduce another 20 CNG filling stations during this year to facilitate gas filling, the report said.
Myanmar has worked to ultimately change all motor vehicles in the country to CNG-operated ones starting from bus and truck down to private-owned saloon car under a plan to modify all vehicles gradually in the country in terms of fuel operation.
To facilitate the conversion, Myanmar has allowed some dozen private industries to carry out the undertakings on buses, trucks, taxis and saloons in addition to the Ministry of Energy and some banks have also been designated to loan for the change since over a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is encouraging import of CNG-run cars rather than petrol- or diesel-consumed ones.
Myanmar began the move amid sustained rise of crude oil prices in the world and the plan was introduced due partly to the abundance of natural gas in the country.
Myanmar has been using natural gas limitedly to run cars safely after tests on CNG were carried out in 1986. Such gas brings benefits of saving of fuel, effective use of locally produced gas, prevention of air pollution, speedy flow of passengers and commodities and catching up with modern technology.
With a total of over 980,000 motor vehicles moving in the country now, of which over half are motorcycles, Myanmar's petrol consumption has at least doubled in the past decade as registered, consuming about 100 million gallons (420,000 tons) of petrol and about 340 million gallons (1.4 million tons) of diesel annually in most recent years.
Although Myanmar produced about 6 million barrels (798,000 tons) of crude oil annually at home, yet it could not meet the demand and had to import about 130 million US dollars' worth of the oil per year.
With three main large offshore oil and gas fields and 19 onshore ones, Myanmar has proven recoverable reserve of 18.012 trillion cubic-feet (TCF) or 510 billion cubic-meters (BCM) out of 89.722 TCF or 2.54 trillion cubic-meters (TCM)'s estimated reserve of offshore and onshore gas, experts said.
The country is also estimated to have 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserve, official statistics indicate.
The Myanmar figures also show that in the fiscal year 2005-06, the country produced 7.962 million barrels of crude oil and 11.45 BCM of gas. Gas export during the year went to 9.138 BCM, earning over 1 billion US dollars.
Available statistics reveal that foreign investment in Myanmar's oil and gas sector had reached 2.635 billion dollars as of May 2006, since the country opened to foreign investment in late 1988, dominating the country's foreign investment sectorally.