Gas crisis turns to a severe
Staff Correspondent: In front of the National Press Club of the capital on Wednesday afternoon, a young man named Lutfar Rahman asked the driver of a CNG-powered auto-rickshaw if he would go to Karwan Bazar. Driver Rabiul said, he will not go.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, without finding any other auto rickshaw, Lutfar saw Rabiul still standing there with the car. He said to Rabiul, why don’t you just sit down? Rabiul said, renting for a short distance is not acceptable now. It takes a long time to fill the car with gas due to low pressure. As a result, passenger carrying capacity has decreased. So now looking for long distance passengers. After visiting a few more CNG stations, Rabiul’s words were confirmed.
CNG pumps are closed daily from 6 pm to 11 pm due to gas shortage. The stations are crowded throughout the day to get gas for the car. Drivers have to wait for a long time. But now the pressure has reduced so much, even after standing in line for two to three hours, drivers are not getting gas as per demand.
Sector-stakeholders said that there has been a severe gas crisis in the capital and surrounding areas. Homes, industries, CNG stations – everywhere there is a clamor for gas. For the last two months, the crisis has taken a dire shape. Petrobangla is supplying the least gas in the last decade. Added to this is the intense cold of winter. The problem of gas accumulation in the line has increased in this cold.
Yesterday afternoon, three CNG stations in Khilgaon and Rampura areas were visited, with long lines of cars in front of the pumps. Sohag, a CNG autorickshaw driver at a pump in MalibagChowdhurypara, said that when the crisis was less, gas could be taken for Tk 230-250. It took two to three minutes.
Taking gas for Tk 250 earns Tk 1600-Tk 1700. Now the gas pressure is so low, more than Tk 150 gas can’t be taken. Whichever pump you go to, the pressure is low. Having to line up for gas multiple times a day. It takes one-and-a-half hours to get gas once through the line. Tk 150 gas earns Tk 1000-1200.
Farhan Noor, Secretary General of CNG Filling Station and Conversion Workshop Owners Association, said that gas has not been supplied at the right pressure for a long time. When the supply conditions were a little better, the pressure was up to 6-7 psi. Now down to 1-2 psi. Many stations remain closed during the day due to lack of pressure. The situation is such that even daily expenses cannot be met by selling gas.
Currently, the country’s daily gas demand is 420 million cubic feet. Petrobangla supplies an average of 255 million cubic feet. The shortfall is about 165 crore cubic feet. The production from the country’s gas fields is decreasing day by day. 50 crore cubic feet is available from LNG. One of the two LNG conversion terminals was closed for two months for repair work, reducing LNG supplies.
Harunur Rashid Mollah, managing director of Titas Gas Distribution Company, told that the supply of gas has been very low for two months. An LNG terminal is closed for repairs. It may be launched soon. Then the supply of gas will increase and the crisis will be greatly reduced.
However, Petrobangla sources said that once the closed LNG terminal is operational, the maintenance work of the other one will begin. It will launch in March. As a result, gas supply will not actually increase before next Ramadan.
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