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January 12, 2015

LPG shortage irks domestic consumers


January 12, 2015

DESPITE administrative measures taken by the government, supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and empty cylinders could not be smoothened completely in the market to meet the demand, leaving domestic consumers in disarray amid unprecedented outage of natural gas.
The shortfall in LPG supplies still exists and it is really hard to buy an empty cylinder as market is almost short of good quality cylinders for domestic consumers. Although LPG price had been brought down to Rs125 per kg from Rs230-250 per kg a couple of weeks back, yet neither the supply improved nor the availability of empty 11.8kg cylinders had been made possible. The demand of LPG has seen tremendous jump this winter, especially during the last couple of months following severe curtailment in supply of natural gas by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL). Already infuriated at non-availability of natural gas, it is not less than a cruelty that people have to run from pillar-to-post to get LPG and cylinders, said a resident of New Garden Town. He claimed that Sui gas was almost not being supplied to his area, forcing him to buy LPG.
According to an industry estimate, over 0.5 million new domestic consumers have opted to use LPG this winter largely for cooking purpose as natural gas supplies plummeted to record level in the energy-starved Punjab province. We have witnessed an upsurge in use of LPG to approximately 2,300 tons a day from earlier levels of about 1,300 tons, showing a whopping three-fourth leap in its supply, said a representative of the LPG industry. The extraordinary boost in demand was not visualised by the energy players as it crossed by 50 percent against the estimates. However, he said, shortage of LPG had been plugged in the market nowadays.
Owing to closure of a leading refinery because of technical reasons and strike at one of the major fields, about 50 percent of LPG supply got affected in the last week of December, 2014. However, he insisted, LPG

was amply available as imports had been picked up lately, saying high demand of LPG might be a cause of shortage. Nevertheless, he admitted shortage of domestic cylinders, saying such a huge demand had never been seen earlier in the country.
A leading LPG distributor denied impression of short supply of gas. Import of about 20,000 ton LPG has already been done this month while it is expected that this quantity would touch the mark of 30,000 ton in next couple of weeks. He acknowledged shortage of cylinders, saying that local manufacturers had been unable to produce cylinders to meet demand. Only sub-standard cylinders are available in the market which must be checked strictly, he observed.
He said price of LPG should be reduced further and fixed at Rs110 per kg given trend in the international market. He demanded that LPG marketing companies should be bound to import 40-50 percent of their quota to meet increasing demand of LPG in the local market.

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