The world methane vehicle fleet accelerated growth and came nearer to a mark of 28 million cars, having increased in a year on 1.6 million vehicles. At preservation of the current dynamics by 2021 the threshold in 30 million will be overcome.

In a methane segment the liquefied natural gas (LNG) — both on the land and at the sea starts playing more and more significant role. In Russia by the present moment the main problems preventing from development of the gas engine direction are already overcome. By the end of the next decade annual demand for gas motor fuel is to reach 11 billion cubic meters.

Risum teneatis, amici!

There is an impression that the «dieselgate», which was well-known 3 years ago in information space, remembers our edition only. And after all we were promised overthrow of bases, full repartition of structure of consumption of motor fuels, leaving of the diesel and after that his colleague — gasoline. It was promised full triumph of environmentally friendly transport, which electric cars were appointed. Actually world information agenda free or involuntarily opposed electric cars to the cars using internal combustion engines.
Looking at result, Saltykov-Shchedrin is involuntarily remembered with his immortal «A bear on the voivodeship». «Dieselgate» is that very Toptygin the 1st, who was sent to reduce all to “a common denominator”. Kind people waited «bloodshed» from him, and he ate a siskin.
Today even it is a little strange to read assurances of the management of Volvo of two-year prescription that beginning with 2019 all models of the company will be equipped with electric and hybrid motors and cars with internal combustion engines gradually will start leaving the range. Of course, the company has time till 2025 so far to start selling 1 million electric cars a year. But the latest news about decrease in sales of this type of transport makes doubt a little success of this enterprise. It is necessary only to repeat after the mosquito by Shchedrin which flied from the other end of the world: Risum teneatis, amici! («It is possible to burst out laughing, friends!»).
Last year the government of Germany decided to temper justice with mercy and not get rid of diesel cars and to stimulate their fastest updating. Before a number of the European car makers within one and a half years tried to reach the authorities and to explain to them that there is a huge difference between old engines and new. Probably, their voice was heard.
And this consciousness of the European officials has a serious reason. After all last year in the EU automobile market negative tendencies were designated. For example, the easy panic was caused by decrease in sales of new cars in September, 2018 almost on a quarter. However, indicators in four quarters looked hopefully. But in the current year relentless recession began. Some experts started talking about possible reduction of world demand for cars for 5% at all.
It is necessary to notice that a number of cars in the EU for the last five years, according to the European association of producers of cars (ACEA), grew on 5.7% — from 243 million to 257 million. Average age of cars in the European Union, according to ACEA, makes 11.1 years. For comparison: in Russia average age of vehicle fleet – 13.4 years. Comparison, of course, is not absolutely correct, as average age of cars, by estimates of the secondary market, below – 11.4 years.
It is important to notice that the European vehicle fleet grows old. In 20 years average age of a car grew approximately here for three years. On the one hand, it is connected with that less developed poor states were admitted to the EU for this period, on the other hand, aging does not stop — in 2013 average age of a car was 0,6 years less. Cars are used more long.
And now rates of sales decrease. Whether so you should not use quite worn out plate about fragile environment to urge car owners to update more actively their iron horses. And for interested persons are provided a discount and other sort of encouragement in that very Germany.
Here it is worth asking a question of possible influence which can render reduction of a car market on alternative types of fuels and also about its influence on the Russian export.

The Real hero

Our country, according to the Ministry of Energy, in 2018 made 39.4 million tons of gasoline and 77.5 million tons of diesel fuel. About 4 million tons of gasoline goes for export and about a half of all made diesel.
Europe is traditionally considered the diesel market. Exactly there is a considerable share of oil products. Ironically, but some skilled motorists still argue on the Russian motor fuel which allegedly hopelessly lagged behind on quality the European. If these people left in the EU, with high degree of probability they used to refuel also fuel of the Russian production. Respectively, all processes happening in the market of motor fuels of the European Union concern also our country. And the structure of this market really changes.
In the fourth quarter of 2018 a share of the new cars working at diesel fuel according to ACEA, decreased from 41.2% to 34.1%. Really they, despite new measures of support, nevertheless started to be forced out with electric cars? But those for the same period occupied only 2.7% of the new cars registered on all EU. All «alternative» vehicles together made 8.6% of the market. Besides car sales, working at methane and propane-butane, in the fourth quarter showed decrease — on 13.8%.
The real hero who won a share of the market from the diesel and continues it to restrict, is gasoline.
In 2018 56.7% of new cars worked at gasoline in Europe. Growth in comparison on 50.3% in 2017 is more than obvious. Diesel occupied 35.9% of the market. And only 2% of the new sold cars accounted for a share of electric vehicles. By the way, in the fourth quarter of last year a share of petrol cars rose to 57.2% at all. And to the middle of the current year they occupied already 59.5% while a share of diesel cars decreased to 31.3%. All «alternative» (including gas, electricity and hybrids) made 9.2%. It should be noted that one of the largest car markets of the EU is Germany — yet does not give in to the general dedieselization.

Threshold in 29 thousand

The report of the European association of producers of cars which its representatives presented in September of the current year on a motor show in Frankfurt looks in funny a way. In its framework it is possible to see an appeal to increase heat of financial and legislative support for the fastest electro mobilization of the European Union. After all only 12 EU countries offer compensation payments for purchase of electric cars. And four states do not offer any privileges at all. Such situation is inadmissible and it is necessary to do something with it urgently. Best of all is to distribute money and to think over additional benefits.
But actually it is not interesting. Suddenly it is found out that electric cars and charging stations most actively extend in the richest countries! More than 75% of all points of charging are concentrated in four countries only: Netherlands, Germany, France and Great Britain.
29 thousand euros GDP per capita become some kind of threshold for development of the electro mobile direction. It appears (!) that the main obstacle still is an availability of electric cars to broad masses. And after all actually the situation even is more difficult as serious development of the electric direction happens only in the countries where GDP per capita is 42 thousand euros.
But here we criticize electric cars, and after all following the results of 2018 gas cars occupied 0.4% only in structure of sales. But in this case it is worth remembering that during the crisis of 2007-2009 a share of gas cylinder cars (GBA) in the market of Europe reached 4% and in Italy — exceeded 20%. Indirectly it means that gas is anti-recessionary fuel. Gas cylinder cars are already now rather available, and fuel costs significantly cheaper than gasoline and the diesel. And the main plus of gas — it is possible to convert the ordinary car.
At crisis emergence regular motorists will not rush towards electric cars, they rather will try, having invested a little money in re-equipment of the individual transport, to save on other type of fuel. Under conditions of reduction of the automobile market of the European Union we are not speaking about any extension of programs of special support of electro transport.
This assumption is based on the simple fact: 13.8 million Europeans work in automotive industry directly or indirectly. It is 6.1% of all workplaces in the EU. Thus the automotive industry generates positive balance of trade balance of 84.4 billion euros a year, and the enterprises of an automobile industry pay 428 billion euros in as tax.
Reduction of car sales is a strong blow to the vital point of the European economy. In this situation it is worth being engaged not in exclusive support of one narrow direction, and to distribute the available funds for more mass segment. In fact, it is also tried to be done from last year in Germany. And it bears fruit in the form of rather stable sales level in comparison with neighbors in the European Union. In this plan, by the way, at «anti-recessionary» gas has very cloudless future.
As for demand for the diesel, it does not decrease dynamics of growth decreases. Respectively, sharp decline in demand for their production in the European Union in the next years does not threaten suppliers of this fuel.
But that is remarkable, in the middle of last year the world park of the gas cylinder cars using methane as fuel reached 26.16 million units. Average dynamics of a gain for the last 20 years makes a little more than 1 million methane cars a year. During 2016-2018 the average value of a gain made about 1.4 million. And to the middle of 2019 the world vehicle fleet of gas cylinder cars grew to 27.8 million that is on 1.6 million. So far decrease in demand problems in traditional and electric segments of methane did not concern. On the contrary, there is even small growth. But it will become only within the next year, whether it is an accident or regularity.

Not a panacea

In recent years we often compare development of gas and electric segments of a car market. It doesn’t happen because of desire to award a victory to gas over electric cars in advance. Though such a thought, certainly, has the right for existence, as well as healthy skepticism concerning our calculations. But let’s look at the situation here from what point of view. Any type of transport in the world is not provided with so positive lighting from mass media, as electric cars.
Sometimes there is an impression that the electric car simply does not exist if it does not overcome, does not subvert and does not win, besides everybody and in the bud. For example, natural gas has never been supplied as panacea from all climatic troubles and the reliable instrument of rescue of the planet.
On someone’s whim an electric car was opposed to all other means of transport. And now it is free or involuntarily it is necessary to compare to it any alternative. By the way, try to guess whose quote is it: «In comparison with electric cars, the cars on natural gas are more economic». Probably, it is Alexey Miller or Vladimir Putin’s words. No, it was told by an official from department of emissions of vehicles in the ministry of environmental protection of the People’s Republic of China.
China has a mighty automotive industry which made it the leader in the market of electric cars. Besides, this country is a net importer of gas and its dependence on external suppliers grows. Respectively, officials from the Celestial Empire have no other reason to speak about advantages of gas before electric cars if only it is not true.
China diligently constrains today use of diesel fuel on transport. It is one of measures for air pollution abatement. Thus local experts note that demand for the trucks working at natural gas will grow. Also big future waits for methane on public transport. China intends to bring in recent years the number of gas cylinder cars in the vehicle fleet to 11 million units.
In general it is worth noticing that China still remains the leader in the field of use of natural gas on transport. The total of methane cars exceeds here 6 million pieces that makes about 3.7% of all vehicle fleet of the country. For comparison: in the European Union the number of the gas cylinder cars using methane as fuel makes about 1.3 million units.
Already today in many respects thanks to efforts of the People’s Republic of China Asia became the dominating player in a segment of gas cylinder cars. From 27.8 million GBA world park 19.85 million cars travel about on roads of this region. Certainly, except China there are such large players as Iran and Pakistan here.
For the People’s Republic of China use of natural gas on transport is first of all means of pollution abatement of the atmosphere of the large cities. Though for the same purposes requirements to quality of traditional motor fuels raise and the electric segment develops. But gas has an exclusive role — increase of economic efficiency of the overland and water trade ways developing including within the «One Belt — One Way» project. And within this project the strong incentive for development is received also by gas engine branch of our country.

Ten years of energy efficiency

Ten years ago the law «About Energy Efficiency» was adopted. It followed the order of the Russian President Vladimir Putin which appeared in the previous year at which stimulation of use of natural gas as motor fuel was defined by one of the priority directions of development of an oil and gas complex. The new law became landmark as in its framework the foundation for a new state program of development of gas engine branch was laid.
If to speak absolutely precisely, the turning point for gas engine branch of Russia came in 2013. The state issued the resolution on transition to 50% of public transport on gas and also about the equipment of traditional seasonings with gas modules. Besides, agreements with the large foreign and domestic producers having in the model range of GBA were concluded. The state designated readiness to allocate multi-billion funds for development of the branch.
Gazprom also did not lag behind it, having created the specialized enterprise and having allocated necessary financing for development of infrastructure. The space for work was huge. In total at the beginning of the current decade in Russia there were 86 thousand gas cylinder cars working at compressed natural gas. And the total of automobile gas-filling compressor stations (CNG filling station) hardly reached 250.
Gazprom placed emphasis on re-equipment of own vehicle fleet. And since the beginning 2014 on the middle of 2019 increased number of the installed gas cars on 2.6 times — approximately to 11.7 thousand units. It is nearly a half of all vehicle fleet of the company. It was succeeded to save 4.8 billion rubles on fuels and lubricants at the expense of it.
The state and Gazprom tried to solve at once some problems: improvement of standard and legal base, formation of new financial instruments, increase in number of the CNG filling station, growth of an indicator of specific loading of gas stations and creation of conditions for production of gas cylinder equipment at the Russian enterprises.
Annually put on some billion rubles which sent as subsidies to producers of buses, and also technicians for housing and communal services. Rules provided also subsidizing of the equipment equipped with the two-fuel engine of 50% of a subsidy for equipment with the gas engine. In 2019 2.5 billion rubles were directed on stimulation of demand (also an opportunity to increase financing to 5.2 billion rubles was discussed).
At the beginning of the current year the Russian President Vladimir Putin charged to accelerate transfer of equipment to gas motor fuel. Today it is supposed that by 2030 each region of Russia with the population of the cities more than 100 thousand people will accept own program of development of gas engine branch.
Possibility of transfer since 2020 of the state subsidies from the producer for the consumer is now studied. It can make GBA more available for a wide range of buyers. But we will not forget that the greatest effect gives transfer to gas not of single cars, but large vehicle fleets. Certainly, the automobile direction is worth remembering as taxi pools work in it.
At the beginning of October the government of the country approved allocation to the Ministry of Energy of 3.4 billion rubles on development of the market of gas motor fuel.

On land and sea

The main problems which were urgent for gas engine branch of Russia five years ago moment are eliminated by present. Let it occurred more slowly than it was supposed initially.
The majority of the large Russian auto enterprises have at least one gas cylinder model in the model range. And such companies as KAMAZ and GAS make quite wide set of gas transport and special equipment. And the methane model range extends. For example, in 2020 Gorky Automobile Plant will start making the minibus and the medium-tonnage truck using natural gas as fuel.
Also the volume of realization of natural gas as motor fuel grew. If in 2013 this indicator made about 400 million cubic meters, in 2018, according to the specified data, it reached 705 billion cubic meters. Thus, according to the Ministry of Energy, a number of stations at which it is possible to fill the vehicle with methane, grew to 381. It is worth explaining that, according to State Statistics, a number of the CNG filling station for the end of last year made 296 pieces. But at the same time you should not forget about significant increase in a number of multifuel gas stations on which part methane filling modules are installed.
If to look at a fuelling picture in general, we will see that total of gas stations in our country makes 29.7 thousand. Thereof the most part — about 26 thousand are traditional and multifuel gas stations. The number of the last, by the way, is very impressive — about 8.4 thousand. The absolute leader among Russian «alternative» are still propane-butane stations – 3.46 thousand. As we see, a gap with a methane filling network is more than ten times. Electrogas stations (24 pieces), and on the last – cryogas stations were at a penultimate place.
There were only 22 cryogenic gas stations for the beginning of the current year. But this direction is one of the most promising not only for our country but also for the whole world.
For a number of reasons methane gained the greatest distribution on heavy-load transport, by buses and special equipment. Convenience of use of natural gas in a compressed look is limited to the weight of cylinders and volume of gas which can be filled in them. The equipment for LNG is easier, and the amount of gas which you pump in the same volume, — is three times more. Respectively, also range of the course at one gas station increases. And it simplifies placement of a filling network (gas stations can be put less often), reduces time which should be spent for filling fuel. Thus all advantages of gas as motor fuel — low cost and environmental friendliness — remain. Therefore on the roads with dense cargo traffic it makes literal economic sense to build cryogas station. Now the corresponding projects are realized by Gazprom.
It is especially important that cryogas stations will be demanded within international transport. That is the «One Belt — One Way» project and those routes which in its framework go through the territory of Russia, will become even more favorable.
But influence of liquefied natural gas will grow not only on the land, but also at the sea. Since 2020 new requirements of the International convention MARPOL on the content of sulfur in ship fuel will come into force. This indicator should not exceed 0.5% for all water area of the World Ocean. One of the most perspective and reliable ways to conform to strict requirements is to use liquefied natural gas.
From the latest significant events in the field of a bunkering of liquefied natural gas it is possible to call signing of the Memorandum of strategic partnership within the V East economic forum in September of the current year between the companies Gazprom Gas Motor Fuel, Gazpromneft Marín Bunquer and United Shipbuilding Corporation. The memorandum provides collaboration in development of use of liquefied natural gas as fuel for a water transport in the territory of Russia.
Certainly, the maximum effect from development of LNG bunkering can be gained if our country masters production of the vessels working at the liquefied natural gas, and also technology of liquefaction. Actually, this general rule: the maximum effect consists in creation of a complete production chain. The example of China in this case more than is eloquent.
Though at the moment volumes of the gas used in Russia on transport much less than the volumes of deliveries to foreign consumers, according to the available plans, by 2030 they have to reach 11 billion cubic meters. It approximately corresponds to purchases of such country, as Poland.
Possibility of expansion of annual state support for 2020-2024 to 10 billion rubles is discussed at the moment. Also it is supposed that since 2020 1 billion rubles will go for support of research and developmental works in the field of gas motor fuel (first of all gas cylinder equipment). Basis for a new stage of development of branch — creation of complete production chains is formed this way. And it is additional point of growth for economy.