- There are 500+ CNG stations across the country
- 10 lakhs vehicles run by CNG
- A CNG station needs 157 mmcf gas per day
- CNG stations bow kept shut for 4 hours a day
The nationwide gas supply shortage has put both users of CNG-run vehicles and filling station owners in the soup.
Without getting the required volume of gas at a single filling station because of poor supply and low pressure of gas, CNG-run transports are often having to rush several fueling stations in a single day to fill up their fuel tanks.
On the other hand, fuel providers are failing to use the minimum capacity of their filling stations to sell gas to transports owing to poor supply and four hours' station closures.
Because sales have dropped significantly while electricity bills for operating the compressor and other maintenance costs remain unchanged, most of the CNG station owners are now incurring losses.
Farhan Noor, general secretary of the Bangladesh CNG Filling Station & Conversion Workshop Owners Association, a national platform of CNG station owners, told The Business Standard that most of the stations are suffering from the same problem.
"Some investors are now digging out exit from the sector instead of pursuing business scopes as they are incurring losses," he said.
Rafiqul Isalm, driver of a CNG-run auto rickshaw, on Wednesday went to the Canada Bangla CNG Filling Station in the capital's Karwan Bazar to fill his vehicle's fuel tank with gas. But he could not buy gas more than 1.9 cubic meters worth Tk70 due to low pressure at the station.
Rafiqul said he has to spend two hours each day refilling his vehicle's fuel tank amid the current crisis of gas.
Aminur Rahman Robin, a private car driver, rushed to the same station aiming to buy 7 cubic metres of gas worth Tk300, but he could not buy more than 2.3 units worth Tk100.
He said his fuel tank was not filling up as gas pressure at the station was lower compared to the car's tank.
Ziaur Rahman, mechanical engineer at Canada Bangla CNG Filling Station, told The Business Standard that sales dropped by 65%.
"We get the required pressure of gas for only three to four hours in the second half of the day – from 2 pm to 5 pm. But we see a severe pressure crisis from 11 am to noon every day," he said.
"The station pays Tk4.5 lakh in electricity bills each month for operating a compressor – that helps to fill up fuel tanks of cars with gas – but due to poor sales, operating a compressor now has become a losing concern," he added.
Md Enamul Islam, manager of Jamuna Auto Centre in the capital's Moghbazar area, told TBS situation at their situation is comparatively better compared to last month.
Still, gas pressure remains low in the first half of the day, slowing down the sales largely, he said.
Currently, there are more than 500 CNG filling stations across the country that sell gas to 10 lakh different types of transports including three-wheelers and sedans.
These CNG stations consume around 157 mmcf gas each day which is 5% of the country's total gas supply.
Admitting to the supply shortage, gas supply authorities, however, said they are trying to supply gas to all types of users in a rational manner.
Engr Md Haronur Rashid Mollah, managing director of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited, said, "We are not receiving the required amount of gas from the Petrobangla. On the other hand, demand has increased in the industrial and power sectors. Therefore, a shortage is seen."
Currently, the country has a demand for 4,284.2 mmcf gas per day whereas the supply is only 3,155 mmcf.
As the largest gas distribution company, Titas Gas usually needs 2,000 mmcf gas per day to meet its users' demand, but it is now getting only 1,642 mmcf.