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Bangladesh - September 21, 2022

No solution of gas crisis soon

Golam Mostafa Jibon: The crisis of gas may take more serious turn in the upcoming winter season centering the ongoing global turmoil especially war in Russia and Ukraine. Experts seem that, there is no possibility to resolve the problem soon. In contrary, it mayhamper normal life along with productivities.
Two months ago, the price of gas was increased to consumption level. But gas stoves are not burning in most areas of the capital due to short supply. Somewhere, even if the stove burns at night, there is no gas pressure throughout the day. In some areas, the stove is not burning even at night. As a result, millions of people have fallen into extreme misery. Due to rise in commodity prices, the purchasing power of lower- and middle-class families has been decreased.
In the meantime, they are not able to cook at homes due to gas crisis. A large number of people in different areas of the capital Dhaka have to go without foods for most of the day.
Most of the houses in Old Dhaka including Shanir Akhra, Jatrabari, Dholaiparh are not getting proper service of gas to burn stoves. There is no solution of gas even after submitting several complaints to Titas from different parts of the capital. It is alleged that, some officials of Titas have illegally provided gas lines to various factories and gas is being drawn through those lines. This has caused of reduction of the gas pressure in the houses.
Chairman of Petrobangla Nazmul Ahsan told that, the gas which is bought from the spot market has been stopped since July due to the rise in global fuel prices. Due to which, it has been decided to reduce gas supply by 7 to 8 percent. The suspension of the process of buying gas from the spot market to meet the shortfall has caused tension in supply. Gas is being supplied preferentially to the production of services or products which require gas.
Due to the economic crisis, the common people of the country are facing manifold problems due to the increase in the price of fuel oils. Every year, when winter comes people face gas shortage. Many areas face scarcity of gas for a period from 6:00 am to 12:00 pm. Cylinders are the only hope in these areas. Those, who do not have cylinders, cook early in the morning. Poor people of the capital’s slums areworse affected. Though, the winter has not yet started completely, severe gas crisis has already appeared in the houses of different areas of the capital. Few urea fertilizer factories have already shut down due to gas crisis. This crisis, which has been going on for quite some time, is getting more intense day by day. Authorities could not say when the factory could be reopened. Besides, gas pressure is noticed low throughout the day in homes in different areas of Dhaka recently. Titas Gas Authority, the responsible organization, could not give any assurance that when the crisis will end. Meanwhile, Titas has no plan on how much gas can be supplied in the coming winter.
Seeking anonymity, the officials of the emergency complaint center of Titas said,”Due to low pressure, gas is being supplied by rationing in different areas of the capital. As the pressure of gas from the main line has dropped to half, the supply is not going as before. Gas shortage is also hampering production of different industries that causing economic losses.”
As the weather remains relatively cold in winter, the pressure is low in the areas from where the mineral is extracted. Gas goes out before 8:00 am every day, comes after evening. Some areas are now not getting gas supply throughout the day. In this situation, many people are being forced to buy cylinder. At this time of rising commodity prices, this additional cost has become a big burden for them.
Titas Gas Authority said, the gas crisis has occurred in the capital’s homes because the supply is less than the demand. Unless supply increases, this crisis is not going away soon.
Expressing helplessness, Rawshan Ara Begum, a resident of Mohammadpur in the capitalsaid, “For about a month, the gas goes off before 8:00 am and the stove gets gas supply after evening. Sometimes gas comes after 10:00 pm.”
“Gas demand usually decreases in winter season and the situation becomes somewhat normal by October. But before that, the gas situation has turned like this, which is frustratedto us,” she added.
Engineer Md. Harunur Rashid Mollah, Managing Director of Titas declined the whole matter and said, apart from low supply, there is another reason for gas crisis in households. In many places, we provided gas connection to single storey houses, where there should be 10 connections, there have been 40. Due to this, the gas pressure is getting lower in that areas.
It is known that, the demand for gas is about 3500 million cubic feet per day. Of them, the government has so far supplied 3050 million cubic feet daily. Domestic production of this gas is 2300 to 2350 million cubic feet per day.
Beyond this, liquefied natural gas or LNG is imported from Qatar and Oman in the Middle East to meet our country’s demand. From that, 500 million cubic feet of LNG is supplied daily to the local grid. Besides, about 250 million cubic feet of gas is supplied per dayafter collecting from the spot market. A new gas field exploration project has been undertaken from this year, gas exploration has been started for the next 4 years by excavating 46 wells. Out of the 46 wells, new exploration is undergoing from exploration wells, development wells and previously drilled wells. A new target of 618 million cubic feet of gas per day has been set through this project. Despite that, residents of different areas of the capital including Mohammadpur, Shyamoli, Asadgate, Lalmatia, Dhanmondi, Hazaribagh, Mirpur, Badda, Rampura, Banashree, Malibagh, Shantibagh, Jatrabari, Old Dhaka and Uttara are suffering from severe gas crisis.
It is to be mentioned that, Titas is the country’s top gas distribution company providing gas to Dhaka and surrounding areas. This gas crisis will not be resolved shortly. The demand for gas in the capital is 180 million to 190 million cubic feet per day, but the supply is only 160 million cubic feet. If the gas supply does not increase, this crisis will continue, insiders said.
Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (TGTDCL) Director (Operation) Engineer Mohammad Salim Miansaid, “We supply as much gas as Petrobangla gives us. As the institution is giving less supply, we are also giving less supply to the customers. We have already written to Petrobangla several times to increase quantities. If they increase this supply, we will be able to maintain the supply to the customers.”

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