A relatively new industry segment in Bangladesh, LPG is setting new frontiers of growth as the nation has stepped up its energy requirements – making the LPG demand grow exponentially. To encourage the use of LPG, government has favorable policies in place. Market insiders says, due to increased use in households, commercial entities and vehicles, the country has seen a four-fold jump over the past three years in LPG consumption.
Though introduced by the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Company (BPC) back in 1978, LPG has only gained prominence after 2008. According to the annual report of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) of 2018-19, till last year, the number of LPG consumers was 38 lakh against 2.5 lakh in the year 2009. Owing to increased LPG consumption in Bangladesh, the number of such companies has increased rapidly.
While the use of LPG is growing exponentially, the most recent emphasis has been to handle the flammable product safely. Amidst rising safety concerns, companies are bringing in innovative methods to enhance the safety levels of cylinders. For instance, Beximco Group, co-founded by Salman F Rahman has introduced the composite fiberglass cylinder which is a Type 2 or 3 cylinder, through its Beximco LPG unit – making the LPG cylinders more viable in the Bangladeshi market. The safety tenet also appeals to the rural diaspora, where people still rely on wood fuel.
Salman F Rahman also serves as the Private Industry and Investment advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – which might bring the household energy aspect more prominent in the plans of the government in the future.
M Muntasir Alam, Chief Commercial Officer of Beximco LPG, informs, Steel cylinders are very hard and the gas pressure is always very high. Exposing them to extreme heat of the kitchen can lead to expansion of the gas inside the cylinders, making it highly flammable.
Salman F Rahman, MP from Dhaka-1 Constituency, who has already been working towards the installation of renewable energy grid in the country recently cited “We are self-sufficient in food, developing our electricity sector and our population growth is also under control.”
Furthermore, awareness sessions hosted by Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources have been centered on enhancing the existing facilities in the country- accessing all the risk factors associated with it.
Factoring in the existing safe and convenient energy solutions, Bangladeshi companies Beximco, Omera could expand their reach in Bangladesh and present export options – not unlike the recent export contract with India. As their capacity is hugely under-utilized, more such exports can help them become commercially more viable in the long run, only if they access risk factors well.