Conserving, stopping misuse of precious gas
The energy secretary informed sometime ago that henceforth government would not give gas connections for household uses. From that time, household users would be encouraged to use gas in cylinders or in liquefied form in cylinders. Use of the gas from cylinders should make the users careful about not wasting. The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will cost more than the gas currently supplied through gas lines or pipes to households.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated on several occasions how important it is not to waste the country’s precious or limited gas resources. The Prime Minister once told the audience that in many households people are seen not bothering to put off the gas stove out of a fatal consideration that they have to use one more match stick to light it. But how much does a match stick cost or even a box of matches in contrast to hundreds of thousands of taka worth of gas uselessly burnt in this manner every day ? Even people are found drying their clothes over stoves though they can do this in sunshine.
Thus, conservation of gas or stopping misuse of gas needs to be a high priority not only for the government but for the nation. A sustained publicity campaign is necessary to make people greatly aware of the very pressing need to change their current attitude in using gas. It should be made an important part of public morals, as such. One remembers in this connection a famous TV personality in the seventies who ended each function of his shown on television with the call to people to turn off their gas stoves immediately after use. A resurrection of such high profile publicity has been overdue. The government should also go for implementing prepaid system for household gas use . There are new types of gas stoves and the use of the same need to be made mandatory. These burners are turned on only when there is something on the burner and turned off when it is removed from the burner.
The misuse and inefficient use of gas has a wider dimension. Industries or industrial processes are the biggest consumers of gas. But they would be found to be inefficient or wasteful in their consumption. In Bangladesh, some 5,700 industries consume nearly 1020 mcf of gas per day. Out of the consumption, 95 per cent are fed by their boilers. A government survey during the last caretaker government found that gas-fed boilers in different industries under Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd. franchise areas consume 20 to 30 per cent extra gas due to their inefficiency and wrong operation. The study said that the thermal efficiency of gas-run boilers in different industrial units was 62-72 per cent, which could be raised to 80-85 per cent through upgrading.
Most of the industrial boilers have inadequate insulation, unadjusted air-fuel ratio, damaged insulation in steam lines and different other faults which have reduced their efficiency to 62 to 72 per cent. If even one per cent efficiency of the industrial boilers can be raised, 95 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas will be saved per month which would contribute very substantially in reducing the current deficit in the availability of gas in relation to demand.
The low pressure of gas continues to be a major problem for both industrial and household users. The low pressure has been hampering production in many types of gas based industries; specially the quality of their output is suffering due to this. Housewives remain in dire straits in many places from not being able to cook properly from the low pressure.
But all of these things could be a thing of the past if there was no dilly dallying with plans made long ago to set up three pipeline compressor stations on the gas distribution lines. The installation of the compressor stations after cleaning the lines, will likely fully overcome the problems associated with low pressure of gas and pave the way for its efficient utilization. But this vital project has been stagnating very regrettably without a push given to it as a high priority one.