Commercial Vehicles Blamed For Ghana’s Propane Shortage

A severe shortage of propane in Ghana has forced calls for commercial drivers to be charged more for using the gas, which is in short supply in homes for cooking and heating. (image: trekearth.com)

A severe shortage of propane gas in Ghana is being blamed on commercial vehicle fleets switching to the subsidised, clean-burning alternative fuel.

The African nation is now considering hiking the cost of propane – also known as LPG, or liquid petroleum gas – for commercial vehicles to ensure adequate supply for domestic users.

The National Petroleum Company (NPA) says it distributes 1000 metric tons of the gas each day but demand continues to outstrip supply. The situation is made worse because the country is heavily reliant on propane imports to meet burgeoning demand, NPA chief executive Alex Mould told Radio Ghana last week.

He called for a review of LPG subsidies with the aim of making commercial vehicle owners pay for the actual cost of the gas they used.

Residents in the New Juaben Municipality also appealed for the government to increase the price of LPG for commercial drivers to help limit commercial vehicle consumption and make more gas available for households – millions of which rely on the natural gas liquid for cooking and heating.

Restaurants had been forced to close because of gas shortages, with some resorting to charcoal to cook food. There was a need to ensure enough supply to serve the domestic market, which the subsidy was initially targeted towards, ghananewsagency.org reported.

Residents in Koforidua have been forced to move from one gas-refilling station to another for several months now in search of gas – even trekking to the neighbouring municipality for refills. LPG refilling stations said no sooner were gas supplies delivered before commercial drivers emptied stocks.

As Propane.pro has previously reported, despite massive shale reserves and the success of hydraulic fracturing in the United States sparking a boom in natural gas and propane production, propane inventories have remained stubbornly lower this year than last year.

This is partly because of strong overseas demand for propane from countries like Ghana, but also an unseasonally cold spring this year, which ate into reserves as people burned more gas to heat their homes.

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