As the government has restricted piped gas supply to the country's households, new large housing or building projects in Dhaka are constructing centralised LPG stations to ensure an uninterrupted supply of cooking gas.
The LPG companies – at a webinar organised by The Business Standard on Sunday – revealed that they have set up four centralised LPG cylinder banks across the capital.
Among the four, new housing projects in Uttara sector 18, Rupayan Uttara City and Secretaries' residence buildings are connected to this system. The system appears as a big relief to the consumers from a cylinder-handling and refiling hassle.
A centralised, or reticulated, gas system promises an uninterrupted supply for households. The system essentially involves a piped network in an apartment complex that supplies cooking gas directly to consumers by drawing the fuel from a pool of cylinders.
"This new trend, however, cannot be implemented in places where there is inadequate space for building a safe centralised LPG station," said M Muntasir Alam, Chief Commercial officer at Beximco LPG Ltd.
"As per the Department of Explosive's requirements, a certain amount of space is needed within the premises of a new housing project to set up bulk LPG supply," he said, adding, "But, we did not find such space in most of the new housing projects after going there to set up the stations."
"However, investors are talking with us when planning for new commercial and residential areas. They are now keeping LPG as an alternative energy solution," he said.
Additionally, LPG Association of Bangladesh's Chairman Azam J Chowdhury proposed that if the government wants, the companies can supply the LPG through a grid system.
"We, the operators, can develop an LPG grid system and expand it throughout the country," he added.
"The government is providing electrification to households across the country under the Hundred Percent Electrification Programme, similarly, we are making an effort to expand the use of environmentally-friendly cooking gas nationwide," Azam said at the webinar.
The government halted the pipeline gas supply to the domestic and commercial level due to a shortage of natural gas in 2010.
Since then, LPG has emerged as an alternative to natural gas for environmentally-friendly cooking energy. At present, there are 3.8 million consumers in the country who consume around one million tonnes of LPG annually.