The country is one final step from replacing six million household containers of propane gas. Around 80 percent of gas cylinders currently in use date back to the Civil War, posing grave danger to users.
A parliamentary subcommittee is currently discussing who should pay the replacement fee, the State or the public. Farid Zainoun, Chief of the Syndicate of Gas Distributors, said: “Once this is settled, the draft law can be signed by the Minister of Energy and Water (MoEW) and enacted by Parliament.”
The fee of LL2,500 ($1.6) will have to be paid each time a gas container is replaced.
Between 2003 and 2005, two million gas bottles were replaced and a fee paid. The rest received minimal maintenance. “Even these containers are starting to get old, but we have to start with the 40-year old bottles, which are ticking time bombs,” said Zeinoun.
Sigma is the only factory that manufactures gas containers, in the local market. The price of an empty gas cylinder is on average LL70,000 ($46). Filling up a ten-kiloliter household gas container costs LL20,000 ($13) and varies by season. The price is set by the MoEW, the distributor earns LL1,750 ($1.2) and resellers receive a profit of LL500 ($0.3), per unit.
There are over 140 gas filling centers distributed across all regions and employing around 3,000 workers.