Nazmul Likhon
The government has taken an initiative to control the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) by mentioning the rate on the cylinders, an energy division official said.
The government is discouraging natural gas connections or supply in pipeline in the sector due to gas crisis. LPG is recommended as an alternative to ensuring fuel safety.
State minister for energy, natural resources Nasrul Hamid said, “There must be a pricing formula, considering the purchasing capacity of the consumers.”
The LP gas sector has been opened to the private sector to ensure easy access to alternative gas, he said, adding “However, in recent times, there have been several disasters which took place due to consumers’ lack of awareness.”
LPG is a mixture of propane and butane that becomes liquid under pressure, which can then be stored in pressurized containers for use. It is used for heating, cooking and auto fuel. LPG is relatively new in Bangladesh, but the demand is increasing day by day.
Since the price is not mentioned now, retail sellers charge more for a 12kg cylinder. Despite repeated complaints by consumers, companies have not taken any measure.
An energy division official said, “We are considering the issue of the consumers and have asked for necessary steps to be taken. Recently, at a meeting held at the ministry of energy, the price of 12kg LPG has been fixed at Tk 995 but Tk 1200 is often taken from consumers.”
However, it is found that due to transportation cost and other expenses, LPG gas cylinders become pricey.
In addition to residential purposes, various other uses of LPG have been started. Meanwhile, auto gas has been introduced in the country, which is mainly used as fuel for transportation. Auto gas can be found at lower prices than those of petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG). LPG is also being used in commercial kitchens.
According to sources, by 2020, 10 lakh metric tonnes of LPG gas may be required every year. Current demand is around 5 lakh metric tonnes. But the supply is 200,000 tonnes. Of this, a maximum of 20,000 metric tonnes is being supplied by state-owned BPC. Private companies are supplying 2 lakh tonnes.
Meanwhile, World LPG Association (WLPGA) sees Bangladesh as one of the fastest-growing LPG markets in the world and predicts that demand for the fuel might reach up to 30 lakh tonnes by 2025.
To use LP Gas for domestic purposes, LP Gas plant at Chattogram was established in 1978 under the supervision of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. Later in 1983, this plant was converted into a Private Limited Company having 100% shares owned by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. This company was given the responsibility to supply LPG throughout the country as an alternative fuel to firewood and kerosene.