Cooking gas imports drop by almost halfLPG imports have dropped by almost half, thanks to a fall in demand as a result of consumers hoarding the fuel during the blockade and the summer season when consumption remains low.
LPG imports have dropped by almost half, thanks to a fall in demand as a result of consumers hoarding the fuel during the blockade and the summer season when consumption remains low.
According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), it has been issuing 500-550 Purchase Delivery Orders (PDOs) daily on an average to gas bottlers for the import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The figure was around 900 until last month. “There is a significant drop in the demand for PDOs from gas bottlers,” said NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire.
LPG bottlers also reported a drop in sales. “During the summer season, LPG sales slow as people should not use heating equipment like in the winter,” said Shiva Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association. He expected the sales to pick up from mid-September.
Cooking gas dealers said the consumers were yet to use up their stocks which they hoarded during the blockade and that the demand was low. “I have seen a four-member family stocking up to six full cylinders,” said Rajesh Dahal, general-secretary of Gas Dealers’ Federation Nepal.
Household consumers have continued to hoard cylinders even after the blockade fearing a possible repeat of the supply disruption, the dealers said.
During the four-and-half-month-long Indian blockade, gas imports had dropped notably. Over the period, Nepal imported just 4,000-10,000 tonnes of cooking gas, according to NOC statistics.
As of fiscal year 2014-15, a total of 6.5 million cylinders of 53 gas companies were in circulation. During the blockade, an estimated 500,000 new cylinders entered the market.
“This is why the consumers got to stock excess cooking gas after NOC significantly boosted imports immediately after the end of the blockade,” Dahal said.