The Gazprom Group opened the first multi-fuel automotive fueling complex of the Gazpromneft network of gas stations on Pulkovskoye Shosse in Saint Petersburg, where in addition to gasoline, diesel fuel, and the already familiar liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) is also sold.
The main advantages of natural gas vehicle fuel are its low environmental impact and economy. The exhaust of an automobile running on CNG contains one fifth to one quarter of the harmful substances contained in the exhaust of an automobile with a gasoline engine. Gas does not form deposits in the fuel system, and therefore the operating life of an engine fueled with CNG is 50 percent longer. When using CNG, the expenses saved on fuel reach 40 percent.
The Gazpromneft network of gas stations plans to develop its sales of natural gas vehicle fuel. At present, the number of Gazpromneft gas stations with a LPG or CNG module has reached 89. The company plans to increase further the number of multi-fuel stations, as well as expanding LPG sales volumes by three times by 2020. The prospects for developing a CNG market are connected with incentivizing the conversion of public transportation and commercial vehicles to this type of fuel.
In Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area, the company is preparing to commission new multi-fuel automotive fueling complexes in the place of former gas stations and CNG fueling stations in Sestroretsk, Tosno, and Tikhvin. The company's long-term plans include the construction of six multi-fuel automotive fueling complexes on the M-10 highway between Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
"By developing the CNG market and incentivizing growth of the number of natural gas vehicles, we are at the same time caring for the environment and the city, as well as the country as a whole. You see, CNG is one of the most environmentally friendly types of fuel. Its advantages are already obvious today, and are understood by many government and commercial organizations that actively operate motor vehicles running on natural gas," noted JSC Gazprom Chairman of the Management Committee Alexey Miller.
Gazpromneft's multi-fuel gas station, located at 42 Pulkovskoye Shosse, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that meets the applicable environmental and industrial safety standards. Two-sided fueling pumps make it possible to fuel up to thirteen cars at once.
The station sells AI-92 and AI-95 gasolines, G-Drive high-performance fuel, seasonal diesel fuel, as well as natural gas vehicle fuel, i.e. CNG and LPG.
The station includes electronic air pumps for tire inflation, window-washing facilities, a café, and a store with a wide range of accompanying goods, including those produced under the Gazpromneft trademark. An automatic carwash will soon be opened.
The multi-fuel gas station uses an after-payment system. Individual customers can pay with cash, credit, bonus points on the Nam Po Puti ("We're Going the Same Way") card, and corporate customers can pay with Gazprom Neft fuel cards.
Use of natural gas as a motor fuel is actively developing in the world, and is currently underway in over eighty countries. The average annual growth in the number of automobiles running on natural gas is 26 percent. Leading international automobile manufacturers produce over eighty natural gas vehicle models. In Russia, there are approximately 86,000 automobiles running on natural gas (in total, there are about 15 million such vehicles in the world).
At present, there are a total of 243 CNG fueling stations in 59 regions of the Russian federation. 208 of them belong to JSC Gazprom.
In 2011, 361.6 million cubic meters of CNG was sold at Russian CNG fueling stations, which is 16.6 million cubic meters more than in 2010, but still amounts to only 18 percent of the design capacity of Russia's CNG fueling stations.