Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refers to a mixture of gases, essentially propane and butane. These two components has special property of becoming liquid at' atmospheric temperature if moderately compressed and revert to gases when pressure is sufficiently reduced. Advantage is taken of this property to transport and store these products in liquid state. It is an easy alternative to pipeline gas (methane).

This is extracted from wet natural gas in NGL fractional plant and also found as a by-product during refining of crude oil. The boiling point of LPG ranges from about -44C to 0C, so that the pressure required liquefying it is considerable and the containers for it is made of heavy steel. There are three sources from which LPG is made available in the country at present. They are listed below:

Table Status of LPG availability in Bangladesh.

Sources of LPG Amount (Ton per year)
Eastern Refinery Limited, Chittagong 15,000
Kailashtila Fractionation Plant 5,000
Import by private sector 67,000
Total available 87,000

It is a safe, clean and environment friendly fuel. Common uses of LPG are for powering automotive vehicles, for cooking and heating, and sometimes for lighting in rural areas. LPG is an attractive fuel for internal combustion engines because it burns with little air pollution and little solid residue, and it has a high octane rating. In Bangladesh there is a great demand for LPG, particularly in western and northern region of the country, where there is no pipeline supply of natural gas.

Its use in domestic sector can help reduce the dependence on imported kerosene and deforestation. Market analysis shows that LPG has excellent economic benefits over fuel wood and kerosene. Some petroleum observer opined that pipeline supply of natural gas for domestic and commercial user in small towns is already a bad economic choice in Bangladesh. Therefore it would be more appropriate to replace pipeline supply of natural gas by LPG in these places and also in rural areas.

NGL is a liquid hydrocarbon produced together with natural gas and it can be fractionated into LPG, motor spirit and other fuel. Kailashtila NGL fractionation plant produces about 5000 ton of LPG per year. NGL that is separated out from methane is piped to the fractionation plant. The present capacity of the fractionation plant is less than the liquid available from Kailashtila gas field and therefore only part of the liquid is processed to produce LPG and remaining part is re-injected in the gas field. Two more gas fields Beanibazar and Jalalabad produce wet gas with significant NGL rich in propane and butane. But as there is no fractionation plant, LPG production from these gas fields are not possible presently. At Ashuganj, construction of a large NGL fractionation plant was planned to process liquids from Kailashtila, Jalalabad and late 1980's the site was developed and pipeline was constructed but till date the plan remains unimplemented. [Md Abul Hashem and Sanzida Murshed]