Kazakhstan looking to convert locomotive fleet to LNG fuel

Kazakhstan is looking to convert the country’s national freight locomotive fleet from diesel to LNG fuel as part of a move to slash emissions and costs, according to Canadian energy firm Condor Petroleum.

Condor said in a statement on Tuesday it has signed a cooperation deal with the Kazakhstan national railroad operator, JSC NC Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ).

Under the deal, the duo would work on a project to convert Kazakhstan’s national freight locomotive fleet to LNG fuel, Condor said.

The partners will first work on a demonstration project. Upon satisfactory results, they intend to enter into a long-term agreement under which Condor would produce and supply LNG to KTZ as a fuel for the national freight locomotive fleet, the statement said.

KTZ operates a rail network of approximately 15,000 kilometers and a fleet of more than 700 mainline freight locomotives.

Condor said it expects that the conversion of the locomotive fleet to LNG fuel would “materially reduce operating costs, increase transportation speeds, reduce CO2 emissions and other particulates, and reduce dependence on diesel fuel imports.”

“This project has the potential for the company to become the largest producer and supplier of LNG in Central Asia, while materially contributing to Kazakhstan’s national initiative to decarbonize its transportation sector and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” Condor said.

Moreover, Condor is targeting to construct multiple modular LNG facilities, each with the initial production capacity of 125,000 gallons of LNG per day and expandable as the LNG market demand increases for buses, long-haul transport trucks and mining equipment.

Condor added it would implement this project through a joint task force with KTZ and JSC KazTransGas, the national gas company of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and their subsidiaries.

FEED work on first modular LNG plant underway

Condor has oil and gas assets in Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

The firm said it has during the third quarter of this year signed a memorandum of understanding with a Kazakhstan government agency to construct and operate the country’s first modular LNG facility.

Discussions regarding feed-gas and LNG end-user volumes, plant locations and fiscal terms, are still ongoing, according to Condor.

Also, Condor said it has already started front-end engineering and design for the first facility.

It said that a modular LNG facility could start production in 15 to 18 months, unlike conventional LNG plants which require many years to construct and are “very capital intensive.”

Besides locomotives, the firm is targeting Kazakhstan mining operations as mining trucks could be “easily” converted to dual fuel while maintaining the flexibility to operate on diesel.

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