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Sep 3, 2019

How National Gas Company Came About

The inception of a national gas company, a public/private partnership involving the government, began with Belize Natural Energy Limited several years ago, under the stewardship of Doctor Gilbert Canton.  At the height of oil production, gases that were emitted as by-products of the extraction process were only being flared.  That was until the company decided to venture into the L.P.G. business locally.  What they would soon come to learn is that the market for butane and other natural gases was being controlled entirely by one Mexican family whose tentacles in the industry span Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.  Accordingly, Canton says that the family’s stranglehold on wholesale prices has repeatedly backed the government into a corner.  In light of that situation, Canton and his team at B.N.E. began exploring possible solutions to the butane crisis.  Earlier today, the former Chief Executive Officer sat down with News Five to explain the genesis of what is the National Gas Company Limited. 

 

Dr. Gilbert Canton, Managing Director, NGLC

Dr. Gilbert Canton

“We ran into a situation where basically it was hard to get the supply, the volumes, and it was harder yet to control the wholesale price because it was an arbitrary wholesale price.  The Bureau of Standards regulates the retail price but it doesn’t regulate the wholesale price, the importers and the wholesalers control that.  So they can use that price and they can arbitrarily change that price depending on how they want to see the market move or whatever.  We saw that happen, we felt the pressure from that and we knew at the same time that the government was having a lot of issues because we would go to them about this.  We were having a lot of issues in terms of quality control, you know, the regulated blend was seventy-thirty, but ninety-ten was being sold for the same as seventy-thirty.  Butane is more expensive than propane so when you change the blends you can adjust income and profits on it.  So you had that and there were safety issues, you know, propane has a higher vapor pressure, tanks that were not up to standard would probably explode because they don’t have the… So there were a lot of safety issues, quality issues, pricing issues because the supply of LPG that comes into Belize from the importers actually bypasses, most of it comes from the US Gulf Coast.  It bypasses Belize, goes to Puerto Amoa in Honduras, goes through the canal and comes through Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala or I think there’s another facility in Salvador and then from there, it’s all trucked to Belize.  So when it gets to the border it’s hard to tell what that actual price is and that’s where the negotiation between the companies and the government usually comes to loggerheads.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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