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Jan 24, 2011

Gas companies protest cheaper butane sold by BNE

Will there be a shutdown of butane gas outlets this Wednesday? That’s what is being threatened by Belize Gas Company Limited, Western Gas Company Limited, Zeta Gas Limited and Gas Tomza Limited. It all has to do with the production of butane by Belize Natural Energy, at prices that the importers say cannot be undersold. On January sixth, 2011, the importers wrote to the Minister of Trade, Erwin Contreras, stating that since they have been unsuccessful in meeting with government, they have decided on the one day shutdown. According to the importers, they are disadvantaged because BNE produces locally while they have to pay import duties.  Earlier this month, BNE provided butane free of cost to residents of Georgeville but the company is unable to provide the demand of the entire country.  BNE’s Public Relations Manager, Daniel Gutierrez says that their sale of butane at cheaper rates cannot put the importers in jeopardy, since the company can only supply thirty percent of the country. According to another butane distributor, who buys from the importers to retail, BNE’s butane has contaminants, an allegation that Gutierrez vehemently denies.  On the contrary, Gutierrez said that BNE’s product is of better quality than the imported product. News Five spoke this evening via phone with Jose Trejo, the Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards, which is the regulatory body for butane quality and prices. He says that the Ministry of Trade will meet with the importers and BNE representatives on Wednesday.

Voice of: Jose Trejo, Director, Belize Bureau of Standards

“Cabinet will discuss recommendation and proposals which will be submitted tomorrow to try and come to a position with respect to the supply and distribution of LPG so we intent to meet with the importers on Wednesday at ten o’clock. So that is where we stand in terms of trying to move swiftly and try to avoid any disruption in the supply of this basic commodity. We want all parties to be able to agree to the proposals that will come out. Obviously each party will have to ensure that we meet at the middle ground on what decision we take. Certainly the issue is absorbing the price of the locally produced LPG into the current market system so that is one of the things that we will hope to iron out on Wednesday. We have been working with them in terms of trying to move towards implementing standards for the industry. And we are right now working along with the CARICOM regional organization for standards and quality to get an expert to come into the country by end of this month, latest mid February to come and assess the LPG market in terms of charting our a road map as to where we start with quality and what investment the bureau of standards will need to make in terms of insuring that we monitor the market as it relates to the quality issue and more importantly, the safety issue.”

This afternoon, one of the largest importers, Belize Western Energy Limited broke ranks stating that it is not taking part in the shutdown. When News Five contacted BWEL, its Manager Lionel Reyes said that he was not in a position to speak with us.  A hundred pound cylinder of butane ranges from hundred and twenty six to one hundred and thirty-one dollars.

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30 Responses for “Gas companies protest cheaper butane sold by BNE”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    Now THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT………….BELIZE AS A SELF SUSTAINING NATION.

    NOW WE NEED TO BUILD A REFINERY……………..GAS COULD BE $5.00 A GALLON.

    CHANGE IS HARD TO FACE……… but change we must…………………..ADAPT OR DIE………….

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Come on fellows, look at your operating costs & find a way to be competitive & give the consumers a break for a change.

  3. Real vs Real says:

    this is now ridiculous. My argument would be stronger if Butane was not a controlled commodity. If that was the case why should a group of business men deny me from being able to buy cheap butane if butane was not a controlled commodity? I think that these gas retailers have nothing to fear because they have established a market position whereby they have developed a pool of loyal clientele. The only fear they could possibly have is that BNE is going to take their customers. One has to remind them that Belize is not a controlled economy or a communist economy. Free market means you have to adapt or lose out. Every business person in Belize knows this and they adapt accordingly. Why should gas retailers have a favored position when the lady selling groceries at the market and the chiney man round the corner have to face the realities of free market economy and competition?

  4. reggie says:

    A next job will done bye the G.O.B. to let the Foreigner come to Belize and take away the Business from the Belizean,Where is the Belizean First .Or only when Pup is in power Belizean is first,And UDP is Foreing Exchange First.My people stop the talking do something that will make the G.O.B. feel.
    All you guys are doing is hurting the customer not the G.O.B.when you shut down.Hurt who hurt you .Power to you and and United we stand.

  5. Josie says:

    PLEASE BELIZEANS SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMPANY BNE when you purchase imported goods you always pay more due to their markup, not that the product is better. If we do not support our local companies that gives room for foreign monopoly

  6. risu says:

    It is not about supporting belizean products. If Belizean products are of low quality, I won’t buy it. I need to get value for my money. It is not the right mindset to believe that Belizeans should support Belizean products at all cost. I think Belizeans deserve top quality products, regardless of where that comes from.

  7. Justice says:

    So let them shut down! For once the Belizean public will be able to avail of something to help them in these trying times and greedy vendors want all the business. Shut down! They will still have some businees but no they want all! If I had the money, I would import the amount needed and sell at cost to the consumers who BNE cannot supply to..

  8. ESSB says:

    I PURCHASED BNE GAS BECAUSE IT’S CHEAPER BUT THAT GAS IS NO GOOD. BNE DOES NOT HAVE A REFINERY SO WE ARE JUST GETTING A BY-PRODUCT; UNREFINED GAS.
    I WOULD SUPPORT LOCAL BUT GOSH LET THEM SUPPLY SOMETHING GOOD MAN.

  9. belizeanpride says:

    i rather buy from BNE since the cost lof living is very high there’s no choice to do than pick the most affordable one, if only gasoline would be cheap also sold by BNE i’d buy it too cause we’re striving everyday with high taxes.

  10. ESSB says:

    WE CAN SURELY SUPPORT OUR BELIZEAN COMPANIES…..BELIZE GAS LTD AND WESTERN GAS LTD ARE BELIZEAN-OWNED COMPANIES. I SUPPORT THEM FULLY.

  11. O.Walk guy says:

    It is a shame what those five gas companies intend to do, people are free to buy gas from where they want and obviously people would buy the cheaper product. I hope that BNE product will be just as good or better than the imported one if not people would just continue buying the imported one. Government should just go ahead and give permission to BNE to market their gas directly to the people; cost of living is so HIGH and at least give the people a break and choice. People should never be forced or channeled to buy from certain suppliers only because they are the only ones available. Belize is a free market economy, let the competition begin; eventually it will be the people who benefit!

  12. fromafar says:

    YES YES YES, its about time, now we can fuel our farms so that the cost of local produce can be reduced so that we can be even more sustainable. When will be refine our oil so we can use in our vehicles?

    C’mon, let go!!!!!

  13. louisville,ky says:

    What is it that the butane importers are protesting? Is it the fact that Belizeans [ only 30% mind you] will be able to benefit from the lower price of locally produced LPG? This is a matter in which I strongly believe the consumers should assist the powers that be, in ensuring they benefit from that “wealth untold that God’s goodness gave to them”. After all, this may be the only blessings Belizeans will get from the oil business.

  14. Bruce says:

    Welcome to the real world!!!!!!!!! Actual competition!!!!! We here in Belize are being forked on the price of butane. Butane and LPG are by products of natural gas. Where I am from in Canada we just used to burn the excess off. Well that has all changed. EXCEPT two years ago the price of Natural Gas was about $9.00 per gigajewel as I write this the current price is $4.57. A barrel of oil has nothing to do with Natural Gas, therefore the price butane is artificially HIGH.
    The only difference in burning is the size of JET through which the gas flows My mother in law just bought a new Whirlpool stove It came with the extra jets for either gas.

    @ ESSB Natural gas wells are different than oil wells SO ARE THE REFINERIES do a little research!!!

    @reggie You seem to suffer form head in rear end disease or do you enjoy paying to much for you GAS!?!?!?

  15. Proud Belizean says:

    Reggie, if you get your head out of politics you would be able to see that the local suppliers (importers) can start buying from BNE and supplying to Belizeans.

    It is because of ppl like you that our country is not prospering. I hope that BNE will soon start refining and supply Belize with Gasoline and hopefully it will drop the price per gallon to $5bze.

    Dean O. Barrow, I challenge you to pressure BNE to invest in a refinery. Our farmers and regular citizens cannot carry on paying almost $11bze per gallon of gas…you are the only one that can afford expensive fuel (paid by our taxes). Or maybe only “WHO FEELS IT KNOWS IT”.

  16. Robert says:

    Competition is good for Belizean consumers. Let them compete or get out of the business.

  17. el alcalde says:

    BRAVO!!! PLEASE KEEP IT UP AND GOING BNE, PLEASE DO!!!
    WE LOVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING, REALLY DO.
    COMPETITION LEADS TO PROGRESS, AS OLD AS AGE ITSELF, WE NEED THE COMPETITION.
    THOSE RICH COMPANIES SHOULD CLOSE ALL TOGETHER, NOT FOR A DAY!!!
    WE CAN LIVE WITHOUT YOU RICH COMPANIES , WE SURE CAN, PLEASE CLOSE DOWN COMPLETELY!!! OR FIND CHEAPER GAS ELSEWHERE!! COMPETE, COMPETE !!!

  18. Demand more. says:

    This is a shame that we still have this type of mentality when the Orange Walk town board
    wanted to get buses to provide public transportation they were immediately challenged by the taxi union because it would kill there costumer base .This is progress dirty fuel or not why do we try to protect the interest of a few at the cost of everyone.

  19. el alcalde says:

    As I read all your comments above, I realize that you are very intelligent people, but the keep back to the nation are the greedy leaders,red & blue, period.

  20. Orange Walk says:

    the true matter being protested is for the government to be honest with the people! BNE goes on national tv telling people that they want to provide a cheaper product for the people, so why only to a chosen few? many importers country wide have formally requested from BNE to be sold some of their product so they can provide it to the people country wide , but BNE refuses! the real danger lies in that the government is willing to risk public safety and say go ahead BNE sell your product when they know very well that the product WILL affect the people in the longer run. read the stats on the net people. read about what all the product needs to go through before it even becomes good quailty for you to use. yes it is cheaper to buy it now, because it has not been put through the poper refinery and channels it needs to become a safe and quality product. its a shame that no one wants to explain the true facts to the people.

  21. daveyt says:

    Now the consumer sees the true colours of the greedy LPG vendors! Vote with your feet, and only buy from those that don’t shut down on Wenesday (BWEL & BNE).

    The rest will soon be droppintg their prices for your custom, and taking less profit for it. LPG, the very basic commodity we need to cook with will then become affordable by all again!

  22. Bruce says:

    @reggie Just for the record THE PUP were the first ones to sign a deal with BNE

  23. daveyt says:

    Don’t stop there though, do the same with the gas Stations, and most importantly, the 2 parties of greed & corruption. Make those despots flee and make Belize free – for the first time in 30 years.

  24. Truth says:

    This is one of the reasons that the UDP gov’t will be a ONE TERM GOV’T. Not serious with reducing the cost of living for Belizeans. Here we have an opportunity to reduce cost of living, but will go unnoticed.

  25. CEO says:

    The people are finally getting a break and these guys are trying to mess that up? How stupid. All they need to do is to seel off their more expensive stock when BNE cannot supply and then they too can start selling the BNE and continue to make even money too.

    Belizeans need to learn the dynamics of competition.

  26. Earl Grey says:

    Now WE NEED COMPETITION IN THE BEER DEPARTMENT…….

    WE NEED ANOTHER LOCALLY PRODUCED BEER.

    COMPETITION IS GOOD FOR US CONSUMERS……….

  27. DJ Massive says:

    Check this out i am currently looking for new musicians/artists if you have a song that you think is gonna be a hit and want some air play i am currently mixxing on an online fm station which has over 100 listeners. This is how it works you send me your music file mp3 only and i will let you know when i am gonna play your song and if it is requested to be played again then you know you got a hit. It can be a dirty version it doesn’t matter it will be played. Send your file to airhead33@yahoo.com. I have music engineers from new york,chicago,from the dirty south and toronto canada listening to this radio station so if you want to be known you know what to do…case close. STAND UP BELIZE LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD AND STOP ALL THE CRIME AND HATE.

  28. Gillett says:

    Everything is not about making a profit. There needs to be some kind of order in an economy where it seems that prices of goods just keeps increasing. Give the consumers a break and let them enjoy the low prices. Self sustaining it is…

  29. rigrat says:

    There is a bigger picture to be looked at here. The Butane from BNE will not last forever, as the fields in Spanish lookout are already in decline.
    Should other gas suppliers not be able to match the BNE price, then they will either have to shrink their operation, or go out of business. Given that there are four major players that have the market covered, it is very likely that at least one of these existing companies will fail.
    The market will eventually decide who survives, who goes. BNE can supply 30% of the country. Existing suppliers and importers will lose 30% of their business, but if you cannot get BNE gas, then you will be forced to buy from the established players who may very well increase their prices to compensate for the loss to BNE.
    BNE will in the future cease to produce Butane when the oil fields run out, and Belize will be left with a smaller distribution network and higher prices.
    I think that BNE would be wise to charge almost the same as the existing suppliers and keep that money in Belize. Expand their social programs, and their training for young Belizeans with the extra cash.
    That would benefit the economy, as well as not disrupting the market too severely.
    Buying foreign produced gas sends money out of Belize. Buying BNE gas keeps money in Belize. Foreign gas employs very few workers as the gas is made beyond our shores. BNE produced gas employs Belizeans at home.

    Oh, and there is nothing wrong with BNE gas. It will cook your food just as well as the imported gas.

    But what is really really wrong is the amount that the government can take as the Belizean share of BNE. I am not sure that the production sharing agreement takes gas into account, only oil. I need to do some digging here.

  30. PEMEX says:

    @ ESSB, Risu, Orange Walk

    thank you for using your brians.. there is a bigger picture in this than the public knows… the media has put a political spin on it all and makde the 5 existing companies into the villains. if you want to buy water mixed with what they call butane.. go ahead and pay 350 for it. after all you get what you pay for.. you think the the price of crude inthe world market has dropped or increased. and i would go as far as to say the quality from BELIZE GAS CO LTD AND WESTERN GAS CO. LTD IS GUARANTEED and CAN BE PROVEN TO BE THE HIGHEST QUALITY OF L P G IN THE COUNTRY. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE CONSUMER. IF YOU WANT QUALITY YOUR GONNA HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.. BUT IF YOU LIKE WATER , CONTAMINANTS, AND OIL RESIDUE FOR YOUR DOLLAR THE CHOICE IS YOURS AS WELL. BNE DOEST CARE ABOUT THE BELIZEAN PEOPLE. ITS ALL A POLITICAL PLOY… AND FOR A FACT BNE HAS NO INTENTIONS OF SELLING TO ANO ONE OF THE FIVE BECAUSE THEY WANT IT ALL FOR THEMSELVES… THE IMPORTATION VOLUME IN A MONTHE BY THE 5 IS MORE THAN BNE CAN CRANKOUT IN 8 MONTHS… YOU CAN FOOL SOME PEOPE PEOPLE SOMETIMES BUT YOU CANT FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME…

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