The government has given Beximco Petroleum Ltd a nod of approval to establish 500 autogas filling stations and 25 workshops on a total of 11 conditions, including submission of a financial solvency certificate to the authorities concerned.
Autogas is the common name for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) when it is used as a fuel in internal combustion engines in vehicles as well as in stationary applications, such as generators. It is a mixture of propane and butane.
On January 4, the Beximco Petroleum Ltd authorities received a letter in this regard from Energy and Mineral Resources Division, which says the local energy firm will have to apply to the division for its final approval after fulfilling the conditions within two years of the primary approval.
The company may get an additional year to meet the criteria if it fails to do so within the stipulated time. If the company fails to fulfil them even within the extended period, then the permission to run LPG business will be revoked, the letter reads.
The firm will also have to submit a financial solvency certificate or a financial commitment letter of investment from authorized financial institutions.
According to the letter, the company will have to sign an agreement with Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation following clearance from the Department of Environment, Department of Explosives, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, and Fire Service and Civil Defence to establish and run LPG operators.
The other conditions include setting up LPG plants away from residential and densely populated areas so that public safety is not hampered, complying with the LP Gas Operational Licensing Policy, 2017 and LPG Bottling Plant Policy, 2016, building a 5,000-ton reserve tank, and ensuring safe transportation of gas by road tankers and vessels.
Akramuzzaman, deputy secretary to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, said: “Though Beximco Petroleum Ltd was initially given the permission to build 500 autogas stations, but they are required to meet all the conditions and obtain a licence before launching their business.”
Without deciding on a pricing scheme, the government on August 10, 2017 issued a circular disclosing its policy on autogas and establishment of refuelling stations and conversion workshops.
The officials concerned said the policy was formulated to replace CNG with autogas, as the country’s natural gas resources are increasingly waning.
The circular also said LPG was rapidly gaining popularity across the world, compared to other fuels such as octane, petrol and diesel. Also, LPG is much cheaper than other fossil fuels.
Experts said a country can save a huge amount of money by consuming autogas as it is an eco-friendly fuel.
According to the government’s policy, the distance between two gas stations on the same side of a road inside a city corporation area or a district town should be at least two kilometres, and it should be four kilometres otherwise.
For establishing autogas stations on the opposite side of a road, the distance between two gas stations inside a city corporation area or a district town should be at least one kilometre, and it should be two kilometres otherwise.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday, Farhan Noor, general secretary of Bangladesh CNG Filling Station and Conversation Workshop Owners’ Association, said it was a new addition to the country’s energy industry.