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World's largest CNG refuelling station opens in Singapore

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  • World's largest CNG refuelling station opens in Singapore


    Singapore News

    World's largest CNG refuelling station opens in Singapore

    By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 09 September 2009 1650 hrs

    SINGAPORE: The world's largest CNG refuelling station - spanning over 7,000 square metres - has opened in Singapore.

    The S$16m C-Energy station, owned by the Union Energy Group, officially opened its facility at Old Toh Tuck Road on Wednesday.

    The C-Energy, the fifth CNG station in Singapore, has 44 pump hoses for cars and two for buses. This should address the problem of insufficient refuelling stations that users of green vehicles have complained about.

    C-Energy is the brainchild of Teo Kiang Ang, who also runs TransCab, Singapore's second largest taxi company after Comfort Delgro.

    Mr Teo plans to open three more CNG stations - in Bedok-Changi area, Woodlands and Toa Payoh - within the next three years at an estimated cost of about S$6 million each, excluding land cost.

    He said: "Our projections show the need for another three to four stations to help make this industry successful. Without the additional stations in the east, south, west and north, without enough filling stations, it is hard for the CNG business to succeed. But if we are able to support it, we are assured of success."

    Builders said another issue is land availability.

    Alexander Melchers, general manager of C Melchers GMBH, said: "We hear from the operators that the acquisition of land and the pricing of land is an issue. There's an opportunity for companies to have their own stations if they have access to the pipeline.

    "But very importantly, is that we have public stations, so that heartlanders can convert their cars and heartlanders can save money."

    Currently, there are some 4,200 CNG vehicles out of over 700,000 vehicles in Singapore. About one third of the CNG vehicles are taxis.

    Still, users are hampered by a Catch-22 situation. Drivers are reluctant to switch to CNG despite the green tax rebate, because they say there are simply not enough CNG refuelling stations.

    On the other hand, CNG refuellers say they are reluctant to spend millions to build CNG stations because there are simply not enough CNG vehicles.

    But as fuel prices increase and CNG, which can halve a driver's fuel cost, becomes more easily available, Mr Teo expects more to switch to CNG vehicles. And he plans to grow his current 3,000 taxi fleet to a fully-CNG one of 8,000 within five years.

    In fact, Mr Teo predicted that by then, half of Singapore's entire taxi fleet will be CNG cabs. And going by the positive reactions of customers, he may well be on the right track.

    "Elsewhere, the queues are long, some equipment are not working, waste a lot of time!" said one customer.

    "A lot of us started buying CNG vehicles, but ended up using petrol most of the time. Now, people in our area have started going back to CNG and enjoying the savings from it," said another.

    Another plus point - the new CNG station runs 24 hours a day.

    - CNA/ir