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CNG-fuelled buses for Kazakhstan

In Almaty, Kazakhstan, 20 compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled buses have been launched in the city.

The buses come just months after Kazakhstan's first CNG filling station opened in July.

The vehicles, which are to be part of a 200-strong fleet, arrived in mid-December and will first be used to transport athletes during the Asian Winter Games in February, before beginning commercial operation in Almaty.

The CNG project came about following a request from president Nursultan Nazarbayev for a natural gas study in the nation.

Integrated natural gas company BG Group completed the study, which recommended the development of a natural gas vehicle market in partnership with the natural gas company KazTransGas.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the project and has supplied the municipal public transport company Almaty Electrotrans with a $35.2 million (€25.8 million) loan to purchase 200 buses. Delivery for the remaining buses is due to be complete by April 2011.

'We congratulate BG Group and their Kazakh partners for a further important milestone in the development of the world's newest natural gas vehicle market and hope to be able to continue to support them as the market grows in 2011 and beyond,' says managing director of CNG Services John Baldwin.