NOT EVERY COMPANY has the resources, know-how or guts to take on a project in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, when the U.S. Defense Department decided to build a compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Sheberghan - a city of 150 000 located in northern Afghanistan along the Silk Road -Atlas Copco took up the challenge. "On a scale of 1 to 10, this one was about 20 in difficulty,"says Alec Shapiro, an independent energy consultant to the U.S. Defense Department. who helped coordinate the project."
We had major snowstorms,rain,cold so severe that our hands would freeze if we touched metal, and then our team had to be evacuated to a military base because of anti-American demonstrations_ We thought we'd be done in 19 days. It took us 36 days."
If you ask the people of Sheberghan, they'll tell you it was worth the effort. Following d ifficult construction and conversion operations, the "mother station" now supplies locally produced CNG to a hundred taxis, the only transportation available to most citizens. "People cried when we fueled the first car,"says Shapiro.
"One business leader said this was the first time in 15 years that anybody brought a penny into this town and actually created jobs."
Since 2002, the US government has spent approximately SEK 485 (Euro 55) billions on programs designed to secure and stabilize Afghanistan , while helping rebuild its infrastructure. Among those programs was the new CNG station in Sheberghan.Atlas Copco provided variety of equipment and services for the construction and operation of the station. Below is a l ist of just a few of the Group's contributions:
A facility that removes sulfur from natural gas. making it clean enough to use.A mechanic's shop where cars are converted to dual fuel,able to run on either gasoline or CNG. 4 000 kg of storage along with dispensers that can fill four cars simultaneously.
The station has a fueling hose for filling mobile trailers, which can transport CNG
“ "PEOPLE CAME UP FROM ATLAS COPCO IN PAKISTAN AND STAYED THROUGH ALL THE DELAYS.THEY SHOWED AMAZING COMMITMENT TO A CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP ' ”
ATLAS COPCO NOT ONLY supplied equipment but also helped source additiona l material from other companies critical to the project. "The way Atbs Copco pooled its resources to accomplish thisproject in such a short time was incredible."says Shapiro."People came up from Atlas Copco in Pakistan and stayed through all 1he delays.They showed amazing commitment to a customer relationship."
"For the CNG srntion project. there were many challenging dynamics involved including package design, equipment sourcing,installation in harsh weather conditions and the development of local competency levels,"says Nasir Jmnal, Business Linc Manager, Oil-free Air division.
Haag says the completed station could be anywhere in Europe or the U.S., given its high quality. Looking at the
complex, you'd never know it stood in the middle of Afghanistan, a desolate and war-tom counrry where success stories of any kind arc few and far between.