Reintroduce pipeline gas supply to households
Prof. M Tamim, Chairman, Petroleum and Resources Engineering Department, BUET : Problems in gas supply to domestic consumers during Ramadan are created due to the increased use in the industrial sector. For wider deficit this year, the problem deepened. Huge illegal domestic connections are added to it. Around 5,000 new connections have been added to 1 inch distribution line which already had 5,000 connections. Consequently, the gas supply does not for more than 2-3 hours.
The government decision of suspending all the new connections to domestic users and CNG stations was due to supply shortage. The objective was to increase gas supply to industries. Now the starting of LNG supply in full, I would recommend resuming pipeline supply to the households but every consumer must have prepaid meters. a good quality prepaid meter would cost Tk 15,000. The government can give some subsidy to the prepaid meter users. Considering 80 cubic meter of gas use, every domestic consumer is now being charged Tk 800 per month. Considering cost of imported LNG, the cost of 80 cubic meter of gas would be Tk 3,000 but in actual practice, a domestic consumer uses half of this volume. So pipeline gas use for domestic use will be affordable at Tk 1,500 per month.
On the other hand, gas rationing to CNG stations should also go after introduction of the LNG. Around 180 MMCFD is the present demand of CNG. It may increase to 250 MMCFD when supply would become normal. CNG owners can afford to run business with profit even if at the present price of feed gas.
Another reason of the present gas crisis is that the production depleting to 2,600 MMCFD. Deficit has widened. Now industries keep running even during weekly holidays, So gas supply crisis to other users remain unaltered during the week ends also. This also makes gas supply to domestic consumers diabolic.
The present gas crisis cannot be effectively confronted till supply deficit is balanced with the imported LNG.