15 factory manufactured natural gas vehicles participated in the motor rally. All vehicles demonstrated high reliability covering 3,570 kilometers over 15 days along the following route: Yekaterinburg – Chelyabinsk – Ufa – Orenburg – Samara – Saratov – Volgograd – Voronezh – Tambov – Tula – Moscow. Blue Corridor 2011 became the longest motor rally organized by Gazprom.
Each of the cities hosted exhibitions of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and round table sessions with the leaders of the Russian Federation constituents and the representatives from municipal administrations, transport companies, environmental organizations and mass media.
During the round table sessions the advantages and the prospects of natural gas vehicles (NGV) were discussed. It was noted that natural gas was not only a more environmentally friendly fuel compared to gasoline and diesel, it was also more attractive from an economic point of view. For example, a gas powered KAMAZ dump truck saves RUB 6.1 million over 10 years of service on the price difference between conventional fuel and gas, which exceeds the vehicle cost by 2.5 times.
“It is clear that the gas fuel use has huge advantages. Meantime, all organizational and technical issues that arise when converting vehicles to natural gas may be absolutely solved. Today, our task is to intensify the appropriate efforts together with Gazprom,” said Alexander Strelyukhin, Deputy Chairman of the Saratov Oblast Government.
At the end of the round table sessions Protocols of Intent were signed by Gazprom and the Governments of six regions and the administrations of six cities where the motor rally had taken place.
The documents reflect the parties' willingness to develop and implement the programs related to vehicles conversion to natural gas and expansion of the CNG filling stations network.
Herewith, Gazprom is ready to carry out the construction of CNG filling stations while regional and municipal authorities make transport conversion to natural gas and ensure, within the scope of their powers, a hospitable investment climate and tax preferences for all stakeholders.
During the Blue Corridor 2011 motor rally the cost-effectiveness of natural gas as a motor fuel has been demonstrated once again. Thus, a KAMAZ dump truck, a NEFAZ urban bus, a Mercedes E200 passenger car – all gas powered – consumed 40, 37, 8.4 cubic meters of gas per 100 kilometers, respectively. As an average price of a cubic meter of gas was RUB 8.5 at CNG filling stations along the route of the motor rally, the costs of filling each vehicle totaled RUB 340, 314 and 71.4 per 100 kilometers, accordingly. Given that a KAMAZ diesel truck and a NEFAZ diesel urban bus consumed about 30 and 33 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers and Mercedes E200 – about 9 liters of AI-95 gasoline, at an average price of RUB 25 and 28.5 for diesel and AI-95 gasoline, the fuel cost savings by these vehicles totaled RUB 410, 511 and 185.1 per 100 kilometers, respectively.
The Russian fleet of natural gas vehicles amounts to some 86 thousand units (over 13 million units worldwide). At present, there are 249 CNG filling stations (207 of them are owned by Gazprom) in 58 regions of the Russian Federation. Besides, a new CNG filling station is being currently built in the Kaliningrad Oblast. 345 million cubic meters of compressed natural gas were sold by Russian CNG filling stations in 2010.
Basing on results of the year 2010, the most developed regional markets are the Stavropol and Krasnodar Krais, the Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Tula Oblasts, the Republic of Bashkortostan with 41 per cent from the total volume of compressed natural gas sold in Russia in 2010.
Gazprom signed the Agreements of Cooperation with the Kaluga, Orel and Tambov Oblasts to use gas as a motor fuel. The Tomsk, Kostroma and Volgograd Oblasts endorsed the regional laws aimed at development of their local CNG markets.
At the moment, gas filling capacities are being promoted in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. CNG filling stations have already been built in Bratsk and Yakutsk. A methane filling station is being designed in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In the nearest future CNG filling stations will be built in Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
One of the measures stimulating gas use as a motor fuel in Russia is the Government Directive on Urgent Measures Expanding Substitution of Motor Fuels with Natural Gas dated January 15, 1993. The Directive sets the maximum CNG price at the level of 50 per cent of the A-76 gasoline price.
In October 2011 the State Duma of the Russian Federation examined the draft Federal Law on NGV Fuel. The adoption of the document will help develop the Russian NGV fuel market.
15 vehicles took part in the Blue Corridor 2011 motor rally: KAMAZ trucks, a dump truck, a drop-sided truck, a cargo/passenger truck, two garbage trucks, a vacuum cleaning truck and a mobile natural gas refueling truck; NEFAZ urban and suburban busses, MAN and LiAZ busses; Mercedes E200, Samand, Volkswagen Passat and Volkswagen Caddy passenger cars.
The Blue Corridor 2011 is the fifth run of the motor rally. The previous runs took place in the following cities:
September 2008: Saint Petersburg – Veliky Novgorod – Tver – Moscow;
April 2009: Rostov-on-Don – Krasnodar – Novorossiysk – Sochi;
September 2010: Moscow – Ryazan – Penza – Ulyanovsk – Togliatti – Naberezhnye Chelny – Kazan – Nizhniy Novgorod;
June 2011: Prague – Leipzig – Wolfsburg – Berlin – Greifswald.