The butane strike by the three Central American Companies is going into its second week - but the news this evening is that there is an end in sight.
A press release from the government today reports that those companies have now just achieved an acceptable measure of compliance with their scales. And so, with the scales in place, the release reports that, quote: "the government is prepared to meet with the importers next week to discuss a way forward." End quote.
But, it seems that's not enough - in its release, Government is also requiring, that BWEL, TOMZA and Z-Gas must agree to discontinue its strike action before talks can resume.
That's a double serving of humble pie - and by Monday we'll know if the butane companies can swallow it all. If they do, the talks will be about prices - those companies want an increase - in fact, it's been reported that they want the controlled price for a hundred pound cylinder of butane to go up to 134 dollars form 126 dollars - because that 134 is how much the Ryes Group is permitted to charge for their Mexican Butane.
But, it's not that simple. The Reyes LPG is a certified 60 - 40 mix of propane and butane, meaning it has an optimal butane content for this type of climate. The LPG being sold by at least two of the Central American companies, have been tested by us and visiting experts and shown to have, at best, a 90 to ten mix - in some cases, a 95 to 5 mix, meaning that it's mostly propane. That does not last as long, nor does it burn as hot, but most importantly for the importers, it's far, far, cheaper than a butane heavy mix like the one from Mexico.
Government is well-apprised of this situation as it enters negotiations. Channel 7