Gazprom burns billions at gas stations

The corporation is building a gas station for itself at the expense of the budget.
Origin source
While oil around the world is getting cheaper, gasoline in Russia is getting more expensive. You won’t surprise anyone with this. Car owners once again thought: is it worth it to switch to gas? The idea is quite sound - in many countries with expensive gasoline cars drive on gas. And in Russia, not only are there huge reserves of this fuel, there is also a powerful player in the person of Gazprom, able to establish all the necessary infrastructure. Alas, Alexei Miller does not seem interested in making gas sales to car owners. But I like to receive money from the budget for this.

In Russia, infrastructure for the retail gas market has not yet been created. Responsibility for this, of course, lies with Gazprom. They are assembled in a vertically integrated holding company, which, in theory, should debug the entire chain - from the field to the gas burner or fuel tank. According to market logic, Gazprom managers should knock on every house, persuading them to connect to the pipe. But this is a picture from a different reality: monopolists behave differently. And the government, meanwhile, is trying to patch up holes in infrastructure at a budgetary expense. But it makes it so awkward that billions burn with a blue flame, leaving no trace.

For gas - by decree

Back in 2018, the country adopted the state program “Expanding the Use of Natural Gas as a Motor Gas”. The authorities planned to spend 160 billions from the treasury for this good cause. For comparison: this, for example, is 8 times the annual budget of Voronezh. Even when the program was just being developed, it was said that the state would likely subsidize the re-equipment of cars for the use of gas. If not directly, then at least through a transport tax. Indeed, in six regions introduced the relevant benefits. But there is no single policy here. In Moscow, for example, gas-powered car owners pay taxes on an equal basis with everyone, while electric cars are exempt from it.

As for the billions envisaged by the program from the federal budget, they went not to households or small businesses, but to monopolists. What did they go for? It’s hard to say, at least it’s impossible to see concrete results. So, in 2016 in Russia there were approximately 3.5 thousand gas gas stations. About 3,195 of them used liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This is a product that is obtained from the associated gas extracted from oil production, and its suppliers are various oil companies and small processors, and the gas stations themselves, as a rule, belong to regional networks. Four years ago, no more than 350 stations operated on natural gas. The vast majority of them are tied to the infrastructure of Gazprom, and some were directly included in the holding of the "national treasure". In the context of regions, coverage was negligible - two to three to five stations per subject. At the same time, Gazprom managers complained that their stations operate at about 30% of capacity. Strange statement. Naturally, car owners do not want to convert cars to gas: why create yourself an extra headache, knowing that you can only refuel at three gas stations? Therefore, it would seem that a logical solution would be to develop a network of gas stations. Moreover, in such a situation, it would be completely possible to undertake the free installation of gas equipment. Why not? If a person converted his car to gas, that's it - now he is a regular customer. And then the installation costs can then be recaptured through fuel tariffs. And do not say that the people do not understand this. In Italy, almost half of all vehicles travel on gas.

Where are the gas stations?

But no - the monopolist is not so used to it. Gazprom likes it more than petitioners lining up for it. As a result, the government had no choice but to solve the problem at the budgetary expense, attracting regional authorities. According to the plan, the number of compression gas stations (they are directly connected to gas pipelines) should increase by 3.5 times by 2022. In this regard, Gazprom signed several agreements with the governors - the regional authorities promised to transfer all their subordinate transport to natural gas and contribute to the construction of Gazprom gas stations. All this took already 23 billion rubles, but the number of gas stations on natural gas, according to the Federal State Statistics Service, only decreased in two and a half years. Meanwhile, petroleum gas stations that are not participating in the state support program, on the contrary, have become a bit larger. In this case, money will be allocated further.

The government is trying to patch up holes in infrastructure at a budget expense. But it makes it so awkward that billions burn with a blue flame, leaving no trace

Within the framework of the state program "Expanding the Use of Natural Gas as a Gas-Engine Fuel" in the direction of motor transport, up to 2022, it remains to be spent 57 billion. And on March 20, the new government approved another subprogram with a similar name - "Development of the gas engine fuel market" - with a budget of 19.29 billion rubles until 2024. Thus, we can state: the government spends a lot of money on expanding the sale of natural gas for Gazprom. To do this, the retail gas market breaks through the knee, private stations go bankrupt, and a monopoly is created in their place. Effective logistics schemes are not always imposed on transport enterprises. Here are just a result of all these costs are not visible.

By the way

You can transfer to gas not only cars, but also diesel locomotives and ships, which will also bring significant savings. In the case of railways, the government will help two monopolies at once. For the introduction of locomotives using NGV fuel, the program envisages spending 41 billion rubles, 8.5 of them this year. There really is a lot of work. About half of the railways in Russia are not electrified, which is why they have to use diesel locomotives working on special diesel fuel. There are about 10 thousand of them in the Russian Railways park, and three and a half hundreds of new ones were purchased only last year. Moreover, Russian Railways has its own “gas” program, launched back in 2005. However, for all this time, only two main gas turbine locomotives and one shunting gas and diesel locomotive were manufactured at the company's request.

By 2023, it is planned to increase the number of gas locomotives right up to 22 pieces. According to the new text of the document, the fleet of traction rolling stock on gas fuel will be brought to 12 units by 2020. Three gas stations will also be built (an agreement with Gazprom on the supply of fuel has already been signed). The share of gas turbine locomotives among locomotives will remain low, but statistics will show their multiple growth. The state is ready to spend money on the "gasification" of ships. Now on a global scale, no more than 1% of ships use LNG as fuel. But since the beginning of the year, the International Maritime Organization has once again raised the requirements for sulfur content in fuel, which is why many shipowning companies loudly announced plans for the conversion of ships. And then the Ministry of Transport appears, ready to spend 21 billion, it seems, solely for the sake of reporting: 14 sea and six river vessels have been converted to gas (these are the targets indicated in the program, excluding the displacement of ships).