Gas bottles
to be replaced
Price to increase by LL1,000
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The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) will replace all butane containers.

Four million units of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bottles for residential and commercial use will be replaced by new ones, to be manufactured by the Bekaa-based Sigma, according to Farid Zeinoun, Chairman of the Syndicate of Gas Distributors.

The MoEW has estimated that there are four million units in the market, according to 2003 numbers. The syndicate expects that there might be additional demand especially in light of the presence of Syrian refugees. There are also more stores, restaurants, and companies compared to the last survey done in 2003, when two million units were replaced.

“The gas containers will be replaced gradually over a period of ten years starting from the decision’s publication in the Official Gazette,” he said. The old canisters will be demolished and sold as iron to cover the cost of demolition and supervision of the replacement. A tender is currently being held for companies that will be in charge of demolishing the canisters.

Clients will pay an additional 1,000 liras ($0.66) for the ten and 12-kilogram bottles. They will pay LL3,500 ($2.6) for the 35 kg canisters. “Sigma plant sells new gas canisters for $27 excluding VAT,” he said. Other suppliers sell the canisters for as much as $40.

The price of butane is set by the ministry weekly, the distributor earns LL 1,750 ($1.2) and resellers receive a profit of LL500 ($0.3), per unit.

The replacement plan was objected to by several parties, including the Ministry of Industry. The ministry said that it is not clear what the number of gas bottles on is the market. “Not knowing how many opens the way for cheating to occur,” Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan said. He also wanted importers and distributors to share part of the cost with the citizens.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Date Posted: Sep 28, 2015