Oil marketing firms to begin selling composite LPG cylinders
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Mumbai: You will soon be able to buy composite—or plastic—cooking gas cylinders but they will cost more than the normal steel ones.
Oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL) are set to begin sales of such cylinders with 30,000 units initially.
The cylinders will be launched in Maharashtra and Gujarat, to begin with, three senior officials from the OMCs said. “We are seeking composite liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to be included in the LPG control order. As soon as that is done, we will be launching the product,” a senior HPCL official said on condition of anonymity.
Given that this is a new category, the official said, either the LPG control order that regulates the supply and distribution of LPG needs to be amended or a special dispensation has to be made.
The OMCs are, however, sceptical about sales picking up significantly, given the high costs. “Composite cylinders are expensive. A consumer will have to pay nearly Rs3,000 per cylinder. At this cost, customer acquisition will be very difficult. We will have to figure out if there will be any demand for these cylinders,” a senior BPCL executive said on condition of anonymity.
“If the economics do not work out, we may opt out of this,” the executive added.
A 5kg composite cylinder will cost Rs2,000-3,000. Re-fill costs will be in line with those of a 5kg steel cylinder.
An advantage of transparent gas cylinders is consumers can be assured of the quantity of gas. Another plus is they look better and are light in weight. Also, while a steel cylinder can explode, transparent cylinders get punctured. “Thus, there is no threat to life per se,” said a senior official from an OMC.