Roundup: Egypt's 1st expo on vehicles' natural gas conversion witnesses huge turnout

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CAIRO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's first-ever exhibition on technologies for converting vehicles to use natural gas has witnessed a huge turnout as the government has kicked off a plan to operate vehicles on bi-fuel system.

Dubbed Go Green, the three-day exhibition, which will conclude Wednesday night, is meant to inform car companies and the public about Egypt's strategy to convert vehicles to run on natural gas as well as the financing the government will provide to achieve this program.

The exhibition also aims at showing the public how the new plan will help preserve the environment and make use of the country's abundant natural gas production.

Under the new initiative, the government will convert hundreds of thousands of vehicles to bi-fuel models.

The most populous Arab country will also replace some 1.3 million private cars and 50,000 taxis that have been used for more than 20 years.

Ezzat Hassan, a 45-year-old construction worker was one of thousands of the expo's visitors who wanted to get an idea about the government's new plan.

"I have two old cars and I want to replace them with new gas-powered ones. I came today to see the cars available. I also wanted to know the prices and the facilities provided by the government," Hassan told Xinhua.

"When I replace my cars with new bi-fuel ones, I would be able to save money as natural gas is way cheaper than conventional fuel. I will also save time as I used to go to car fixers at least once a week," he added.

Meanwhile, companies operating in Egypt in the field of car conversion have well prepared themselves to meet the needs of the market as hundreds of thousands of cars will be converted into bi-fuel system.

Ahmed Saeed, marketing general manager of state-owned Natural Gas Vehicles Company, said his company participated at the exhibition to give the public a background about the technology of car conversion his company uses.

"We have been in the market for 25 years now and we have converted more than 300,000 cars to operate from liquid fuel into natural gas," Saeed said. "We are here to tell the customers that we are ready to convert all kinds of cars using the latest technologies in the world."

He said that his company is even able to covert cars using diesel engine to operate on natural gas, stressing that it is a unique experience in Egypt.

Experts believe that using natural gas as fuel will help Egypt reduce traditional fuel imports, have cleaner environment as well as making use of its natural resources.

"Car owners will be able to save more than 50 percent by using cheaper natural gas," Osama Aboul-Magd, head of the Egyptian Automotive Dealers Association, told Xinhua.

Under the initiative, he said, 15,000 microbuses and 55,000 taxis, in addition to 250,000 private cars will be converted into natural gas-powered models, or replaced with new ones during 2021.

The government will also establish some 325 new natural gas-filling stations, bringing the number of stations nationwide to 550, he revealed.

Aboul-Magd confirmed that the government will provide soft loans for those who will replace their old cars with newer ones, stressing that the plan will help Egypt save billions of U.S. dollars.

"Egypt will import less petroleum when vehicles use natural gas as fuel. This will help the country save hard currency," he said.

Egypt's imports of petroleum products decreased in 2019 to 9.4 billion dollars, while its petroleum exports increased to 4.9 billion dollars, according to the country's official statistics agency.

Cairo aspires to become a regional hub for the trade of oil and liquefied natural gas after major discoveries were made in recent years, including the Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean that holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Egypt witnessed a seven-percent increase in oil and gas production in 2019 by producing some 650,000 barrels of crude oil and 7.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to the data of the Petroleum Ministry.

Since July 2014, Egypt has signed more than 82 gas and oil exploration deals with investors, with a minimum investment of about 16 billion dollars. Enditem

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