CNG shortage felt at filling stations

The gas crisis has hit CNG filling stations in Dhaka, where vehicles must now wait in long queues for hours because of low gas pressure.

“Azad’, an auto-rickshaw driver, was waiting at a station at Mohakhali on Tuesday morning after failing to purchase gas at several other stations.

He said he might be unable to fill up his tank or return to the garage even after such a long wait. The crisis has hit the streets for ten days now, he said.

“For ten days now, it has been taking hours to get gas. And when I do get a little gas, it runs out faster than usual.”

Most vehicles in Dhaka have been running on natural gas since 2002, when the first vehicles were converted to run on a fuel more affordable than petrol or octane.

Several residential areas across the country feel the gas crisis during winter, but since the start of this month, even the streets have been feeling the scarcity.

Shahidul Islam said he has been working as the manager of ABN CNG Filling station at Mohakhali Bus Terminal ever since vehicles began using CNG 14 years ago.

“Gas pressure usually goes down during winter. But we’ve never seen distribution hit zero like this,” he told bdnews24.com.

“A very low amount of gas is being distributed between 11:30pm and 8:00am for the last 10 days. The gas station stays shut and opens for only an hour during the day.”

Counting losses

Some CNG filling stations, facing losses, are thinking of shutting down but distribution authorities say the crisis will be over in a few days.

Says the maintenance engineer at Isa Garden CNG Station, “We noticed how there was a 235 sq meter difference in what the meter said we got from Titas’s distribution line and what we sold after compressing it. The loss amounted to Tk 8,225 with Tk 35 for every cubic meter.”

The difference the next day was at 120 sq meter. The owners are thinking of shutting down operations until gas distribution returns to normal, he said.

“When it gets really cold, the gas elements settle at the bottom of the main pipeline where there is a mixture of gas and air. More air then enters the compressor which is the reason behind the crisis.”

Four among the eight levers that run on two compressor machines now stay shut at Mohakhali’s Eureka CNG Filling Station, said its service engineer Md Nazrul Islam. But all of them can function during the night.

“The compressors require at least one bar, but what we have now is 0.60 bar. So we are forced into delivering less. We can’t use all the levers even though there are so many cars waiting in line.”

A problem at the distribution line at Bakhrabad-Siddhirganj was behind the crisis, Titas official HM Ashraf Ali told bdnews24.com. The Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) has been working in the area for the last few days, he said.

Gas distribution will be back to normal in couple of days, he hoped. But GTCL’s director for the Bakhrabad-Siddhirganj project Ainul Kabir said, “The problem has already been solved.”

Source: Bd news24

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