Gasification in Macedonia is just a promise
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July 2012. Statement of Zoran Stavreski, Minister of Finance
“I expect this agreement to determine the time frame where all technical and other details will fit in so that in a few months from today the realization of the gasification project will begin, that is an agreement will be signed to fully realize this project. Both parties have a month-two at most to finalize things and not more than three or four months to start the project”, said vice PM Stavreski.
Fact: Yet not a single inch of the new pipeline.
We heard many such statements in the past. In this text we will recall some of them. In the archives statement on gasification can be found dating 2009, when the Russian clearing debt was agreed upon, but we are still waiting for its realization.
Gasification enters every government’s “Revival in 100 steps”.
“In our four-year term we will stand for the construction of highway gas lines throughout the country. Thus we will enable greater use of natural gas as fuel and will reduce the demand for electricity. The construction of these highways lines will be realized by closing the Russian debt to Macedonia through favorable borrowing from international financial institutions as well as through the issuance of state bonds to Macedonian citizens and the activation of their finances”, extracted from VMRO DPMNE Revival in 100 steps, expanded in 2008.
Fact: We have neither a pipeline, nor paid Russian clearing debt.
There were many such promises by current politicians and former from the time of SDSM (2002-2006). Last pipelines were put in the nineties and since then rather than cheap gas, we have just had promises and empty words from politicians.
Gasification is not their priority
According to experts in this issue, gasification is not government’s priority despite all the benefits that cheap and environmentally friendly natural gas brings.
For Zoran Kitanov, manager of the public enterprise “Strumica gas”, the Government does not intend to gasify the country.
“The government does not want to gasify Macedonia. Full pipeline network can be made for Stip, Veles, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Tetovo for the amount of money that Ferris wheel in Skopje costs”, says Kitanov.
He adds that it takes two years for the construction of highway gas pipelines and five more years for gasification of towns.
“This Government has been in power for eight years, if it wanted to gasify the country, so far there would have been gas in the whole country”, says Kitanov.
The budget projects about 4 million Euros and each year certain assets are predicted, but there is no expansion of gas installations.
According to the former economic adviser in the Russian Embassy in Skopje, Alexander Lessin, the procedure for gasification by the Russian part is very simple:
“I do not know when the Macedonian part will be ready” said Lessin.
Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania are the only countries in Europe that do not have gas pipelines. In Africa even eight countries have pipelines.
In the series of promises for gasification is the one that the government has launched a tender for concession of part of the pipeline routes. Inbox 7 sent questions to the Ministry of Economy, but by the time the text had been published we did not receive a reply.
Macedonia at the bottom according to the length of pipelines
According to the gas consumption in the country, Macedonia is on the very European bottom. In this country there are only 20 companies that use gas in their production. These companies are from Kumanovo and Skopje.
Countries Population Gas consumption (in cubic meters) Gas per capita (in cubic meters) Croatia 4,400,000,00 2,755,000,000,00 626,14 Romania 21,848,000,00 13,480,000,000,00 616,99 Greece 10,767,827,00 4,200,000,000,00 390,05 Serbia 7,276,604,00 2,827,000,000,00 388,51 Bulgaria 7,037,935,00 2,540,000,000,00 360,90 Slovenia 1,996,000,00 680,000,000,00 340,68 Macedonia 2,096,000,00 100,000,000,00 47,71
Besides low consumption, Macedonia is at the very bottom in the region according to the gas infrastructure. The pipeline in the country was built in 1997 and since then, the only saving grace in the Macedonian gas story is the project for bringing virtual gas, done by Strumica.
|Countries||Population||Gas consumption (in cubic meters)||Gas per capita (in cubic meters)|
According to the length of the pipelines, the country has only about 280 kilometers, which is too little for economic development in the country.
Benefits of gas
Gas is the cheapest fuel. With its installation and replacement of other fuels with natural gas 100 to 400 million per year can be saved, which is about 5% of the total GDP in the country.
Miso Nikolov, director of JSP Skopje points out that with the conversion of engines of part of buses from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG), the company saves tens of thousands Euros per year. Besides being more economical, burning LNG has 20-30% less exhaust gases emissions.
Both companies and households have a benefit. First households were gasified last year in Strumica. “Strumica gas” delivers gas to seventy families in their homes.
One of the users of this fuel is Stojan Ivanov.
“I have a house of 140 square meters and all rooms are heated. In the winter 2012 I paid 20,000 denars for electricity per month, but after installing the gas, I pay 10,000 denars in winter and 500 denars in summer. I pay 3.000 denars for electricity. I have a gas boiler and with it I heat the whole house. When I had put gas into my house I threw away three small and two large boilers for hot water and now water is heated by a gas boiler. The gas connection cost me 500 Euros, while the replacement of the electric with a gas boiler cost me 1,200 Euros. Only the boiler for hot water cost me around 1,000 Euros”, says Ivanov.
Strumica is not connected to the highway gas pipelines in Macedonia and the gas is delivered with special tanks from Bulgaria. The town has a comprehensive network of 21 kilometers to the municipal institutions, to households and some companies.
“For 2011-2012 heating season, Municipality Strumica spent 22 million denars (approximately EUR 350,000) for heating. The next heating season when all municipal institutions were connected to the gas network only 9.8 million denars were spent (approximately EUR 160,000). Savings in the first year were around 200,000 Euros. Adaptation of the boilers cost around 250,000 Euros. The overall investment in gas installations paid in a year and a half so it was really worth it”, they say from Municipality of Strumica.
Gas introduction will greatly facilitate the work of farmers and they will receive a finished product 20-60 days earlier, in the period when early gardening is much more expensive. A household consumes 100-700 cubic meters of timber to produce vegetable production. This is a considerable damage to forests on one hand and on the other hand wood is a very expensive fuel. Therefore the introduction of this fuel will have a double effect on the environment – there will be no logging in the forests or toxins into the atmosphere. According to well-informed, in the burning of natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions are down for 30% compared to oil and about 45% compared to coal. During the combustion of natural gas, ejection of solids is 90% lower compared to oil and 99% compared to coal.
- 450 million Euros
are necessary for gasification of Macedonia
- From 100 to 400 million Euros
would be saved annualy if gas is available throughout the country
- About 20
companies in the country use gas
- 800 million
cubic meters is the capacity of the existing pipeline
- 100 million
cubic meters of gas are used in Macedonia
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska