A group photo for Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources among other ministry officials before the first mobile centre for converting vehicles to operate on natural gas. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources)
The centre is a mobile car and includes all components and kits for conversion, a statement by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said, describing it as the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East.
The centre, owned by the Egyptian International Company for Gas Technology (GasTech), can convert about 20 cars daily.
Equipped with all the necessary equipment and experienced staff, the centre can move to companies and institutions and provide the service at their places.
It can also move to provide maintenance and repair services, the statement pointed out.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla attended the project's inauguration ceremony.
The centre is one of the innovative solutions to support the petroleum ministry's plan to endorse the presidential initiative to convert vehicles' engines to run on natural gas instead of, or along with, gasoline, El-Molla said.
The presidential plan – which also includes replacing rickety cars with new ones with bi-fuel system models – targets to reduce fuel imports, decrease harmful emissions, ensure road safety, and tap into the potential of under-exploited auto factories.
It also targets to make use of the country’s plentiful natural gas production resulting from recent oil discoveries.
The presidential initiative has witnessed "a major" boom since its launch, the minister said during the inauguration ceremony.
Minister El-Molla said that work is currently underway to increase the conversion rate to 100,000 cars yearly since the current rate hovers at around 6,700 vehicles monthly (nearly 80,000 annually), according to the statement.
The increase in the number of converted cars is accompanied by an increase in the number of centres for conversion and maintenance operations, which will reach about 130 conversion centres by the end of 2022.
It is also accompanied by an increase in the number of natural gas fueling stations, the minister explained.
Currently, Egypt has 800 gas stations nationwide, with plans to increase them to 1,000 soon.
The ministry also targets increasing mobile conversion centres to roll out such services to more citizens and companies.