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May 5, 2020

Has National Gas Company Commenced Commercial Operations?

As of May first 2020, importers of liquefied petroleum gas—Gas Tomza Limited, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas and Belize Western Energy Limited—cannot import butane gas into Belize. That responsibility belongs now to the National Gas Company and the LPG importers are currently locked in a legal battle with the government over the importation license. The companies are being represented by attorney Audrey Matura who says that the National Gas Company is not prepared to distribute across the country. Matura says that while the companies were informed last month that NGC will commence commercial operations on May first; a letter was received indicating that government has yet to approve the start date.


Audrey Matura

Audrey Matura, Attorney for LPG Importers

“Our clients got a letter dated the twenty-eight February 2020 and the first point the Controller of Supplies Mr. Trejo says the Government of Belize expects the national liquefied petroleum gas terminal to commence commercial operations on the first of May 2020. That is what he says. Yesterday one of my clients got a letter signed my Mister Gilly Canton in which he says we now await the requisite approval from the Government of Belize, including the approval of the commercial operations date, which under act number twelve of 2019 means the date on which NGC commences commercial operations. Why did he say this in this letter? Because he is basically saying we haven’t started commercial operations. So then if they have not started commercial operations why is it that the government stopped giving license to our clients to import petroleum because as I understand NG is saying that look we have petroleum  but we cannot distribute it to you all yet. What you all should ask them is that we understand from their own staff that they have technical problems why they cannot distribute. So the government is hoping that our client will be able to meet that default. Meanwhile our clients have been writing the National Gas Company to say look I want you all to tell me what is the price and how soon you can supply us with petroleum. That is not fully answered.”


Hipolito Novelo

“It is Cinco de Mayo today and there isn’t any indication that the company is up and running?”


Audrey Matura

“Nope and it is already the Cinco de Mayo as you say, five days later when the first correspondents prompted us to go to court immediately says that from the first of May and that letter is dated from the twenty eight of February 2020. So something is not proper in that operation. They need to be honest. Our inside information is that they are not fully installed as they should, that if they try and push it there will be certain hazards but they are the best persons to answer.”


Managing Director for NGC, Doctor Gilbert Canton told News Five this evening there is an inventory of one point four million gallons of LPG in Big Creek. He says this is the largest inventory of LPG in Belize ever.  According to Doctor Canton, the company is awaiting approval of the Commercial Operations Date by the Government.  Doctor Canton said, “the former importers in the past week have fully stocked their fixed storage capacity and also have additional LPG sitting in truck tankers at various locations. So there is no issue of supply in the country.  Once they have sold this inventory NGC will be available to replenish their stocks from our inventory.”

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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