Concerns have been created about the proposal for an unusual increase in the price of gas as it has not been able to cope with the rise in fuel prices. Energy experts think that Petrobangla has resorted to cunning way to increase prices. What they have given cannot be correct in any way.
Energy expert Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam told Barta24.com that attempts are being made to fool the people. Bangladesh is importing LNG (liquefied natural gas) from the spot market under a long term agreement. The price has increased by 5-6 percent bought from the spot market.
It is believable that the price of the whole gas has to be increased by 117 percent as the price of the system has increased by 5-6 percent! They are showing manipulated calculations, these calculations do not agree with reality. We are in favor of not importing that amount of LNG if necessary. However, the price should not be increased. People's concerns have risen after the increase of fuel prices. In this case, the increase in gas prices is by no means desirable.
"At the moment, our economy is not ready for either subsidies or price increases," he told Barta24.com. Instead, that amount of LNG import should be reduced by rationing. People have the experience of experiencing 10-12 hours of load shedding. For those who want to make some concessions, let the pocket-cutting arrangement be stopped.
The crisis is already going on and if imports are further reduced then the crisis will increase. In response to such a question, Dr. Shamsul Alam said, importing fertilizer costs less than producing it in the country. Then why should I produce fertilizer in the country. Fertilizer factories that are not efficient have to be shut down.
He said the bureaucrats are now sitting in the seat of the owner of the people's company. They maximize their opportunities, not development plans. When importing, the commission is traded, so they focus more on import. Exploration and extraction of domestic gas could not be done in that way. That is why this crisis today. This crisis would not have been created if it had been planned in advance. People once took to the streets against gas exports. Now is the time to take to the streets against imports.
Companies are charging prices without gas. Where is the money for illegal gas connections going? This crisis will not go away unless good governance is ensured. Although there is gas in Chhatak and Bhola, why it has not been brought so far. Companies are putting the burden of unreasonable expenses on the shoulders of the people. The companies have to get rid of the bureaucrats who have made the country dependent on imports.
Distribution companies have proposed to double the price of gas. They have submitted proposals to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) to increase the price of one stove from Tk. 925 to Tk. 2,000 and two stoves from Tk. 975 to Tk. 2,100.
This unprecedented high-value proposal was submitted to the commission on Monday (January 17), sources confirmed. The company is responsible for distribution in the greater Noakhali, Comilla and Chandpur districts. Petrobangla has also instructed other companies to submit similar proposals. Sources said that the proposal will be submitted in a day or two.
In their proposal, Bakhrabad has increased the existing price per cubic meter from Tk. 12.80 to Tk. 27.37, from Tk. 35 to Tk. 76.04 per CNG, from hotel to restaurant from Tk. 23 to Tk. 49.98 per cubic meter, and in small and cottage industries. 17.04 to Tk. 37.02, Tk. 10.60 to Tk. 23.24, captive power from Tk. 13.75 to Tk. 30.09, tea industry from Tk. 10.60 to Tk. 23.24. On the other hand, it has been proposed to increase the existing rates in power and fertilizer factories from Tk. 4.45 to Tk. 9.66. It has been proposed to increase the existing average from Tk. 9.38 to Tk. 20.35. Never before in the past has there been such a huge increase in prices. That is why the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has described it as unprecedented.
Petrobangla said in its written proposal that the average purchase price of gas from state-owned companies Bapex and Sylhet Gas Field is Tk. 1.27 per cubic meter, from Chevron Tk. 2.69 and from Tallo Tk. 3.10. On the other hand, the actual purchase price of LNG is Tk. 36.69 and with other charges it is Tk. 50.38. Considering the daily import of 850 million cubic feet of LNG, this price.
Before the companies made their proposals, Petrobangla had sent a letter to BERC asking for an increase in gas prices. Petrobangla's proposal was sent back as it was not legal. BERC is the legal entity for raising prices at the consumer level. When they get an offer, they first check and select. If the application is reasonable, the price is finalized through public hearing.
The process of importing LNG from abroad to address the gas crisis has been widely criticized from the beginning. LNG regasification from Qatar and Oman was being done with two FSRUs (Floating Storage Regasification Units) located in Maheshkhali. An FSRU is now closed due to a torn mooring point. On the other hand, Qatar and Oman have stated that they will reduce the supply of LNG next year.