BRC, an Italian-based manufacturer of gas fuel systems, is providing Ford of Argentina with its CNG Sequent Fuel System for three Ford CNG 2005 models. The Sequent Fuel System utilizes electronic fuel injectors and a common rail scheme. Manufacturing of the new vehicles started in September.
BRC is owned 50% by IMPCO, a provider of CNG conversion systems (earlier post).
Argentina leads the world in the number of CNG vehicles in operation, with some 1.25 million as of March 2004. (IANGV). An article originally published in EcoAméricas earlier this year provides some interesting background on the evolution and role of CNG use in vehicles in Argentina.
On average, 25,000 cars are being converted to natural-gas fuel every month, according to the government. Overall, CNG has captured 16% of the automobile-fuels market, giving rise to a thriving local business in CNG vehicle-conversion and service-station equipment...
The government began promoting development of a CNG industry here in 1984 following the discovery of large natural-gas deposits in Neuquén province. A big move to the new fuel didn’t start until January 2002, however. That’s when local prices for gasoline and diesel—which are linked to international prices—rose 90% and 130%, respectively, amid a devaluation of Argentina’s peso...
A key issue is whether the government will help promote expansion of CNG fuel for trucks and buses, which in Argentina are virtually all diesel powered. CNG advocates have been pressing for legislation that in their view would put their fuel on an equal footing with diesel, but they complain those efforts have been foiled by oil-industry opposition.
A more immediate question concerns the extent to which the government will allow natural-gas prices to rise. CNG advocates want and expect the government to allow a substantial increase this year in the price of natural gas at the wellhead, which stands at the peso equivalent of US$0.40 per million BTUs (about 27 cubic meters of natural gas) compared to the peso equivalent of US$1.20 for the same quantity before the devaluation. They warn that artificially low prices are discouraging investment in the CNG sector and thus could lead to natural-gas shortages.
Perhaps even more interested in higher natural-gas prices are CNG’s competitors—companies that focus on the refining and sales of petroleum-based fuels.