Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations across the country will remain closed every day for four hours from 6.00pm to 10.00pm to keep non-stop supply of gas to power plants.
The state-owned Petrobangla took the decision at a virtual meeting as part of the short and long-term plan for the demand and supply of gas at the gas-fired power plants. Prime Minister’s Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury was present at the meeting with State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid in the chair.
Mir Mohammad Aslam Uddin, deputy chief information officer of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, said CNG stations will remain closed every day from 6 pm to 10 pm to resolve the possible low-pressure situation in the gas distribution network during the daily peak hours of electricity demand. The new order will be effective from September 19.
However, earlier the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources had decided to keep CNG stations closed from 5 pm to 11 pm every day. It was said that the decision would be effective from Wednesday (September 15) by publishing notifications in at least three national newspapers by Tuesday. However, the initiative has been stalled due to the objections of CNG station owners. They have proposed a three-hour shutdown instead of six hours a day.
According to sources, Energy and Mineral Resources Division on Wednesday night had announced the final decision.
Official sources said the decision came against the backdrop of the government's decision to keep the gas-fired power plants operative to generate electricity.
Tariqul Islam Khan, Deputy General Manager of Petrobangla said vigilance team of the gas distribution company will regularly monitor implementation of the decision. Legal action will be taken against the CNG stations concerned violating the decision as per Bangladesh Gas Act, 2010. The authorities sincerely apologise for this temporary inconvenience to the public.
Bangladesh currently has 654 CNG filling stations, which are open 24 hours a day. But growing demand has led to a significant shortage of natural gas across the country.
According to the national oil and gas company’s estimates, it could only supply 1,087 million cubic feet of gas to power plants on Monday, which was only 41 percent of the 2,252 million cubic feet in demand.
Bangladesh is importing gas and also exploring and extracting gas domestically in order to solve the ongoing crisis, Nasrul Hamid told the media on Monday.