At least 11 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) companies are running business in the country without final approval from the authorities concerned, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Saturday.
“Fifty-five companies were given the primary go-ahead (to start marketing and distribution), while only five obtained the final nod,” he said while speaking at the LPG cylinder launch program of Youth Group at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka.
Petromax LPG Ltd, a sister concern of Youth Group, is bringing 12kg and 35kg LPG cylinders into the local market through 250 of its distributors.
Addressing the event, Nasrul urged the LPG companies to prioritize safety and price issues over their benefit.
“You should consider the interest of the consumers,” he said, adding that currently 75% residential consumers use LPG.
He further said the government was also going to form a regulatory body to monitor the activities of an LPG association.
He said the government expects LPG to be used in industrial units since the country is already witnessing a shortfall of gas up to 800mmcf.
Stating that the country may get liquefied natural gas (LNG) by May 26, he said: “Once all the garment factories get gas supply as per their demand, Bangladesh will become the main exporter of garment products.”
He asked realtors to build community or central plants of LPG to overcome gas crisis at the consumer level.
Nasrul hoped that the country would come under almost 100% electricity coverage by next year, adding that the government was now looking forward to working on uninterrupted power supply across the country.
“Our goal is now 10,000MW power generation,” he said.
Price and demand of LPG in local market
A 12.5kg cylinder produced by a private company is sold at Tk950 in and around Dhaka, while the price ranges between Tk1,100 and Tk1,200 in Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna and Barishal divisions.
On the other hand, a cylinder marketed by state-run LP Gas Ltd, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), is sold at Tk800 although its price is Tk700.
Consumers have complained that BPC cylinders are rarely available in the market, forcing them to buy cylinders produced by private companies.
According to the BPC, the national demand for LPG currently stands at one million ton, but only 600,000 ton is produced and supplied.
Of the LPG that is currently available, LP Gas Ltd produces only 20,000 ton while the rest is produced by private companies.