LPG demand lean this winter following smooth power supply

Kathmandu, November 30

Unlike in the previous winters, the demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is lean this year, thanks to smooth electricity supply in the country, which has reduced LPG consumption.

Officials of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) — the state-owned fuel supplier — said that people are increasingly switching to the use of electric heaters and induction cookers along with the uninterrupted supply of electricity.

“The monthly consumption of LPG had reached around 35,000 tonnes during the winter in previous years. However, the monthly demand for LPG this winter has not exceeded 30,000 tonnes,” informed Deepak Baral, chief of LPG Department at NOC.

Statistics maintained by NOC show that the country imported 30,000 tonnes of LPG from Indian Oil Corporation — the sole LPG supplier to Nepal — in October. As per Baral, the LPG import in November is also likely to hover around 30,000 tonnes.

As per NOC, LPG demand used to rise by almost 15 per cent every winter.

Baral opined that Nepali consumers largely purchased electric heaters and induction stoves during the time of blockade and use of such appliances has been increasing ever since the load-shedding ended in the country.

LPG bottlers too said that LPG consumption has been declining in recent months. “Adequate supply of electricity in the country has been hitting LPG business. However, consumption of electricity is increasing in remote areas unlike in urban areas,” said Gokul Bhandari, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association.

With smooth electricity supply, consumers however have been relieved as skyrocketing demand for LPG during winter times has often resulted in a crisis of cooking gas in the market.

The demand for petrol and diesel, on the other hand, is on a constant rise. Owing to ongoing election and rampant smuggling to areas bordering India following lower price of petroleum products in Nepal compared to the prices in India, import of petrol and diesel has been increasing in the past few months.

As per NOC, Nepal imported 84,000 kilolitres of petrol in August, 83,000 kilolitres in September and 100,000 kilolitres in October. However, NOC had already imported 120,000 kilolitres of petrol till November 24.

Similarly, diesel import has also surged in the recent months accordingly, as per NOC officials.

As of today, petrol and diesel are Rs 19 per litre and Rs 26 per litre cheaper, respectively, in Nepal compared to their price in Bihar of India.