Liquid Petroleum Gas, or Butane as we all know is being produced from Belizean oil and it's cheaper than the imported butane.
According to the owner of LP Gas and Supplies in Spanish Lookout, his company sells a hundred pound cylinder of locally produced butane gas for 82 dollars and fifty cents. Compare that to the 126 dollars you pay in Cayo from suppliers using imported butane - and you'll see the difference.
But according to retailers we spoke to the butane produced by BNE is not widely used for two reasons. The first is that three of the major suppliers in Belize are Mexican companies and they get their butane though their company's central American supply chain. One of those companies reportedly mixes the local butane - which sells for a dollar less per gallon, wholesale - with the more expensive imported one to make a tidy profit.
The second reason BNE's gas is underutilized is that - one retailer told us - that he's had customer complaints when selling the local butane in the past because - at the time at least - it was of a lower quality.
We'll discuss these issues with BNE's Daniel Gutierrez in an interview we've requested for next week.
Tonight though we have more on this intriguing subject in the interview he gave to the government press office yesterday. Gutierrez said they can supply about 30% of the Belizean market…..
Daniel Gutierrez - Marketing Department BNE
"Once we are able to sit down with the Government of Belize, and remember butane is a regulated product so it is not for BNE to go and sell it directly to the people, unless the government allows us to do that. Obviously we're asking the government to sell it directly to the people and the reason being that we will be able to bring a much better product at a much better price to the Belizean people. We feel that we will be able to come to an agreement with the government but it is essentially the government's call. But BNE wants to market this product directly to the Belize people to be able to bring much better prices than what the importers are able to."
"Unfortunately we can only supply 30% of the market and it is important for us to be able to work out a system whereby we don't have disruptions in the market. But we can be able to provide this product, which again has a higher butane content than the products out there to the Belizean public. And what that means is, it burns hotter, it last longer, and it is safer to store and handle."
30% of the market is about 120 thousand gallons a month. We'll have more on this story next week….