Home Bangladesh Stealing and wasting of gas on the rise
Bangladesh - March 21, 2022

Stealing and wasting of gas on the rise

Titas ranks at the top of stealing and wasting

Golam Mostafa Jibon : Stealing and wasting of gas are increasing day by day due to lack of effective measures by the Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) causing huge losses every year.
If gas theft and waste could be stopped, Tk 3,000 crore could be saved annually. But, the Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), the only gas transmission company, has no effective measures to stop theft and waste of gas due to unknown reasons. Instead, the organization continues to legitimize it in the name of so-called ‘system loss’.
GTCL is keen to increase the price of gas instead of taking action by stopping the grand festival of gas theft through illegal gas lines across the country and identifying specific waste areas.
Energy experts said that, it is not only possible to prevent this waste and theft, it is very easy to identify those involved. But the Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation (Petrobangla) and the energy regulators Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) and GTCL are totally indifferent.
According to energy experts, it is possible to save gas of thousand crores of Taka by stopping theft. However, the government is buying liquefied natural gas (LNG) at high prices to meet the shortage without taking any effective measures to stop the theft. As per Petrobangla, the cost of importing LNG per cubic meter is currently Tk 50.
As per the statistics, the cost of 65 crore cubic meters of gas wasted annually is Tk 3,264 crore. However, 0.25 percent ‘system loss’ is considered acceptable. As a result, 58 crore cubic meters of gas is wasted. The financial loss is Tk 2,925 crore, which can be saved by reducing waste.
Energy expert and responsible BERC officials said, there is no reason to waste gas, while supplying. There is no chance of gas escaping from the pipeline. However, holes can be made in the pipeline for various reasons.
According to international standards, it can lead to highest of 0.20 to 0.30 percent gas wastage. The actual waste of gas is more than the calculation of paper and pen. Many consumers are paying extra using less gas, which has created an opportunity to reduce waste. Thus, gas of crores of Taka is being stolen from the country.
Titas at the top of stealing and wasting:
The country’s largest gas distribution company supplies gas to the capital Dhaka and surrounding areas, leading to theft and waste. In the last financial year, Titas has wasted 326 million cubic meters of gas. In the previous year, about 31 crore cubic meters was wasted. The company is conducting regular campaigns to disconnect illegal connections. Yet waste is not going to be reduced.
Bakhrabad, another gas distribution company in the Cumilla area, wasted more than 2 percent of its gas last year. They have lost 18.52 crore cubic meters of gas. The previous year, it was 1 percent.
Titas managing director. Harunur Rashid Mollah said, many people are stealing gas with illegal connection. An all-out campaign is underway against such illegal use. No one will be forgiven. All invalid connections will be disconnected. Leakages are being identified and repaired regularly.
Chattogram-based gas distribution company Karnafuli has wasted 50 million cubic meters in the last financial year. Sylhet-based gas distribution company Jalalabad’s waste is 2.65 crore cubic meters. Gas waste rate is more than 1.5 percent in Karnafuli and less than 1 percent in Jalalabad. The two companies claim that, they have no illegal connections. However, the pipeline is often damaged due to various development works of the government. This creates leakage and wastes gas.
Shoaib Ahmed Matin, managing director of Jalalabad said, the system loss has never been more than 1 percent. We are monitoring the matter regularly.
In the last financial year, Titas has conducted 225 operations to detect illegal use of gas. In this, 619 km of illegal pipelines have been handed over. About 3,73,049 stoves were disconnected in this operation. In the seven months till January of that financial year, 85,286 stoves were disconnected. About 101 km of illegal pipelines have been identified in 14 areas.
Titas disconnected 2,239 gas connections in the last fiscal year on charges of gas fraud, illegal use of gas and overuse. Of them, 2,117 are residential connections.
Hole in gas pipeline:
According to Titas sources, 500 to 600 complaints are received every month by the Central Emergency Gas Control Center in Titas. Of them, more than 500 are related to gas leakage. In the last financial year (2020-21), there were 8,881 complaints, of which 7,035 were complaints of gas leakage. Earlier, in the fiscal year 2019-20, some 5,410 complaints were received, out of which 4,496 were complaints of gas leakage. However, the number of fire accidents has decreased compared to the past. Although, there were 306 fire accidents in the fiscal year 2019-20, it has come down to 281 last year. Earlier, from January 2017 to January 2018, Titas searched 5,65,938 gas installations. The leakage was found in 35,101 risers in the residential sector, 152 in the commercial sector and 5 gas connections in the industrial sector. By repairing these, it has been possible to save 20 million cubic feet of gas, said Titas.
The Department of Energy and Mineral Resources said, work has begun in Chattogram to identify the leakage. Other distribution companies will do the same step by step. In particular, Karnafuli in Chattogram, Titas in Dhaka and Jalalabad in Sylhet are distributing gas through very old pipelines. Titas has been distributing gas since 1968, Jalalabad since 1977 and Karnafuli since 1982. These distribution companies will be modernized.
Aminur Rahman, general manager of Karnafuli Gas Company said that, about 50 percent leakage has been identified and repaired. It has saved 4 million cubic feet of gas. Another project will be taken up in the future to identify leakage. Titas supplies gas to the capital Dhaka and surrounding areas. In the last financial year, Titas has wasted 326 million cubic meters of gas. Bakhrabad gas distributing company in Cumilla wasted more than 2 percent of gas last year. They have lost 18.52 crore cubic meters of gas. Western Gas Company Limited and Sundarbans Gas Company Limited have no gas wastage. Due to the managerial weakness and inefficiency of the gas transmission and distribution company, 65 crore cubic meters of gas is being wasted (system loss) every year. Gas is being wasted regularly due to illegal connections, overuse and leakage (holes) in the pipeline. Waste has increased in the last financial year as compared to the previous year. Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation (Petrobangla) and the energy regulator Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) sources said.
Selling more than buying gas:
An investigation into the country’s only gas transmission company and six distribution companies found that the amount of gas wasted was much higher than that of paper-pens. Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), the sole gas transmission company, has a system loss of 0.25 percent per annum. The annual waste of gas is 6.20 crore cubic meters.
According to international standards, their gas wastage is not high, said GTCL Director (Operations) Tajul Islam Majumdar. Two of the six distribution companies have no gas wastage. The two companies are Western Gas Company Limited and Sundarbans Gas Company Limited. On the contrary, they have more sales than Petrobangla. In the last financial year, the Sundarbans has sold more than 1.6 crore cubic meters of gas. Similarly, western gas companies sell more gas than they buy. The two companies have been collecting extra bills from customers for years.
Asked about the increase in sales instead of wastage, the two officials in charge of the two companies said on condition of anonymity that, gas comes from the transmission line to the distribution line under very high pressure. At the consumer level, the gas goes at low pressure. So customers do not always get the prescribed amount of gas, again some people cannot use. Apart from meters, residential and industrial customer bills are fixed. So, they are paying extra bills even with less gas. As a result, sales are higher than gas sales. Financially, gas supply or waste is calculated. However, the amount of surplus money is decreasing as residential prepaid meters and EVC meters in industry continue to increase. When the meter reaches all the customers, the calculation of gas waste will come to the forward.

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