Curgas n.v. was set up as NAGM n.v. in 1949 to distribute liquid propane gas (LPG) for cooking as an alternative to kerosene and electrical stoves. At the time, LPG was what it essentially still is, a waste product of the oil refinery, which is burned off day and night in what are popularly calledeternal flames.
Mea culpa: I have since discovered this is not correct. What's flared off is mostly methane, I'm told. That doesn't take away from the fact that Isla refinery doesn't know what else to do with the propane.
These flames are quite noticeable from quite a distance at night, at sea - they could serve for navigation. Which may explain the deal on which NAGM worked: The company got a fixed amount per cylinder delivered. The price per cylinder was fixed by Shell and later, after take-over by the refinery and utility company OGEM, by the government.These cylinders are always calledThe official Curgas English-language site opens with these words:gas bombs, as well they might be. Those commonly used in households contain 100 lbs. of liquid propane gas, which is more than enough to drive a Chevrolet BelAir 1958 from Amsterdam to Paris - and halfway back. Around 1950 Willemstad was disturbed in its siesta slumber by enormous explosions. We all ran out to watch the refinery, where a barge loaded with these things had caught fire. Very spectacular indeed! One of the funniest things about it was a gigantic smoke ring hanging way above it all, evidently caused by one particularly heavy explosion. Great entertainment.It is almost impossible to imagine our daily life on our islands without Propane gas. True enough. So, this is another welcome source of income for our ever-hungry government. Not to mention what a former director of the company once said to me:We've had an audit and I really have to fire everybody. Nobody's kept his hands clean.
Just the hard facts, ma'm: LPG
Always ready and willing to save you hard figuring it out for yourself, we've done that for you: As against gasoline, the price per unit of LPG went up by a factor 1.5 as much.
A rare attack of honesty compels us to mention that the price per pound for household purposes now is the mere bagatelle of 0.52. This works out at about the same rate, but only if you don't reckon with the infamous tourist subsidy we're democratically forced to pay. If you do, it's higher.
According to Curoil, though, Curgas subsidizes
every household 50L gas cylinder with 9 guilders (17%
and every portable bottle with 1 guilder.
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