Natural gas delivers cost cuts for Roadways

ROADWAYS Pty Ltd’s decision to switch from LPG to natural gas at its asphalt manufacturing plant at Bridgewater was not a difficult one to make.

Managing director Phil Sidney said when we looked at the company’s requirements and sat down and did the sums, the figures showed that natural gas was up to 60 per cent cheaper than LPG.

Roadways Pty Ltd managing director Phil Sidney at the company’s asphalt manufacturing plant at Bridgewater.
Roadways Pty Ltd managing director Phil Sidney at the company’s asphalt manufacturing plant at Bridgewater.

“While we invested $325,000 to cover some minor conversion costs on site and to construct a 1.4 kilometre natural gas pipe from Covehill Road to our plant, we benefited from a return on the investment well within our targeted expectations,” he said.

Roadways uses natural gas to dry and heat aggregate and sand, sourced from the adjacent Boral Construction Materials quarry, which is then combined with bitumen to make asphalt.

The company provides between 35,000 and 50,000 tonnes of asphalt per annum for road infrastructure projects at a federal, state and local level, and for private contractors in the south of the state.

Mr Sidney said the company was able to remove a 25 tonne LPG bullet (cylinder) from its plant site when it connected to the natural gas network in January 2008.

“We have been very pleased with the way natural gas has performed for our business,” he said.

“Given the cost savings and its performance, we are also considering converting our Wivenhoe plant at Burnie from LPG to natural gas if economics stack up.  We have held discussions with Tas Gas about such a conversion and are keen to explore this further.”

Mr Sidney said the natural gas infrastructure investment at Bridgewater was well-timed given the current strength of the market.

“It has allowed us to contain cost inputs which ultimately maintain our competitive position in the market place,” he said.

“There are a number of significant opportunities available in the marketplace at the moment, with all the indications pointing to a continuation of this for the next couple of years.

Roadways Pty Ltd is a privately-owned business that was incorporated in 1964 by its founder the late Ian Harrington.

It employs more than 40 people full-time statewide, and up to double this number during the busier summer months.