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#397101 - 01/12/11 09:34 AM Belize Natural Energy ready to sell cheap butane
Marty Offline

Earlier in the week, Belize Natural Energy’s Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager, Daniel Gutierrez, appeared on Open Your Eyes to discuss the future of the oil industry in Belize. Gutierrez revealed that BNE’s exploration license was about to run dry and the company was hoping for the government to allow an extension or renegotiation. But Gutierrez also announced that the company has been seeking another source of revenue that can have an immediate impact on homes. Recently, BNE has been producing butane and may soon be able to sell it at a lower cost than competitors while supplying at least thirty percent of the overall local demand. While the price is significantly lower than the imported butane, there are alleged issues with the quality, according to suppliers. But Gutierrez says there must be a way for the public to benefit.

Daniel Guttierez, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager, BNE.

Daniel Guttierez

“In 2007 BNE put in place a gathering pipe line system that moved the well fluids from the Spanish Lookout Field outside of Spanish Lookout to Iguana Creek, to the central gathering facility at Iguana Creek where we were then able to separate the well fluids into oil, water and gas. The water is pumped back down where it came from which is the safest place environmentally, right there where it came from in the formation where it came from. The oil was separated and sent to market. And now we had a volume of gas which we could use byproducts to create byproducts to produce byproducts for the country. You have to design a plant, engineer the plant, you have to procure the plant, you have to get it down here, you have to test it, you have to quality assure it. That does not take five or six months. It takes some time. We’re looking at 2007 when it became first possible. And by the end of 2009 we started testing that plant. That might seem like a lot of time it is not. It is a short time. But it was important for us to move it along. Small quantities of LPG, via intermediaries. We begged those intermediaries to bring the price down to the Belizean public. By the end of 2010 it became clear to us—by mid 2010 to the end of 2010—it became clear to us, the only way to directly affect people was to be able to produce the gas and send it to the market ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we will cut out everybody else but it means to say there must be a way for Belizean public to benefit directly so that we can bring that price benefit down to the people. And that is what we are now looking to go into. And as we’ve said earlier and I Belize the Prime Minister mentioned; the complicated part about it is how do you do that in a market whereby we only meet thirty percent of the market and we need our importers. So that is something we need to work out and tweak out.”

Last week, BNE supplied the residents of Georgeville with free butane gas.

#397120 - 01/12/11 11:51 AM Re: Belize Natural Energy ready to sell cheap butane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize butane ready for local market?

A single press release issued last Thursday has caused Belizeans to begin to dream of cheaper, more affordable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly known as “butane.”

The Press Office announced on Thursday that residents of Georgeville, in the Cayo District, filled up their gas cylinders with free LPG donated by Belize Natural Energy Limited (BNE), some 3,500 gallons.

Even more intriguing are the statements made later in the release, in which BNE Marketing Department official Daniel Gutierrez reported that the company “has entered a new phase of producing liquefied petroleum gas…We are now producing butane gas in Belize, Belizean butane…”

The release notes that BNE is seeking permission from Government to directly market the commodity to consumers, and confidently forecasts “substantial benefits in reduced butane gas prices.”

Belize has five major importers of LPG: Belize Western Energy Limited (BWEL), Belmont of Corozal Town, Gas Tomza of Belize City, Belize Gas of Orange Walk Town and Western Gas of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns. Current prices range from $122 here in the City and Corozal to $127 in Punta Gorda Town, after the last price increase announced on December 3, 2010.

But according to BNE’s Gutierrez in a telephone interview with Amandala today, BNE’s product is not only better, but will also be significantly less costly – how much less, he would not say, as he said the details were still being worked out.

What he did confirm was that the company had been in production of LPG for a year, and was already selling its brand of LPG to as many as 12 “intermediary” companies, including BWEL and LP Gas of Spanish Lookout and individual sellers licensed to operate in the villages in the districts, particularly in the West and South.

Gutierrez quoted a price of $3.20 per gallon versus $5.30 per gallon for the imported variety. He told us that while some of the companies and persons BNE deals with sell to consumers at the same rate at which they buy from BNE, others attempt to make a profit and sell at prices closer to the regulated price set by Government, which hurts the consumer.

BNE, he stated, now wants to market directly to Belizeans, but he added that it wishes to seek Government’s approval in order to prevent any undue resentment to arise due to the significantly lower prices expected if the company goes into the market.

Another complication is that BNE’s current production capability can only service 30% of the Belizean market, estimated at 120,000 gallons per month, or 1.44 million gallons per year. Gutierrez says they will market selectively.

As for Thursday’s event in Georgeville, Gutierrez mentioned a key detail left out of the Government’s release, that the village was one of the communities affected by Hurricane Richard last October, and that the company had similarly donated to affected communities in the hurricane’s path of destruction, from Mullins River in the Stann Creek District and Gales Point and La Democracia in the Belize District, to Cayo communities such as Esperanza and Arenal, with Santa Familia still to come.

Opposition figure Arthur Saldivar, during Saturday’s PUP endorsement convention for Cayo South candidate Julius Espat in Camalote, had made light of the event, asking the audience if they had gotten their free butane yet, and suggested that the affair smacked of “bribery.”

That charge was denied by Cayo Central area rep and Agriculture Minister Hon. Rene Montero, who appeared at Thursday’s event in Georgeville and told Amandala on Sunday during the UDP convention in Corozal Town after we asked him to respond to Saldivar’s suggestions that, “as long as it is helping to alleviate poverty, making things better, I don’t see how one can say that.”

He added that BNE benefited by promoting its product to consumers, and said he would lend a hand to their efforts to expand the market.



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