KATHMANDU, NOV 19 –
Consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas ( LPG ) surged 14.12 percent to 207,038 tonnes in fiscal year 2012-13, according to recent Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) statistics. Per capita LPG consumption stands at 7.81 kg.
NOC officials said due to extended load-shedding hours and its cheaper price compared to other energy sources, LPG has become the fastest growing petroleum commodity. LPG import bills stand at around Rs 20 billion annually, while Nepal imported petroleum products worth Rs 107 billion last fiscal year.
“ LPG consumption has soared dramatically due to its multiple uses,” said Shiva Prasad Pudasaini, former deputy managing director of NOC. Due to the shortage of electricity, normally an urban household today consumes three cylinders at a time — for cooking, heating up rooms and gas-water heater or geyser.
“Consumer penchant for storing more LPG cylinders than required has also contributed to the rise in imports,” he said. The number of cylinder a consumer holds normally is visible when the supply of LPG goes erratic. Consumers have been found buying more cylinders than what they actually require.
Currently, Rs 649 is subsidised on a cylinder that actually cost Rs 2,119, according to NOC price estimates.
According to National Population and Housing Census 2011, about 21.03 percent households use LPG . In urban areas, more than two-third, or 67.68 percent, of the households use LPG for cooking.
The clean-burning fossil fuel, which was most common cooking fuel in urban areas until 1995-1996, has become a modern energy source for rural households too, Pudasaini said. “Today, households in many remote areas, particularly in the mountain areas, use LPG even if it cost Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per cylinder for them,” he said. “And, the demand is growing rapidly.”
For example, LPG traders said the demand in the Khumbu region (Everest region) has jumped manifold even if a cylinder costs Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 there.
In urban areas, the demand for LPG is high from hotels and restaurants, vehicles, glass and many industries due to growing electricity deficit.
Experts pointed out two factors for growing LPG demand — first is population growth, changes in age groups and household size, and second, increase of economic activity and development.
NOC statistics show LPG consumption has jumped 213 percent over the last 10 years. The consumption started rising after 2007-2008 and it soared 19.59 percent to 115,813 tonnes in 2008-09 and 21.89 percent to 141,171 tonnes in 2009-2010.
Source : The Himalayan Times