Demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Cambodia in increasing rapidly, and will account for 14 percent of total petroleum consumption by the year 2040, which creates a need for stricter safety regulations and standards.
Shigeru Kimura, a special advisor on energy affairs at the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, said yesterday that diesel and gasoline continue to be the most popular petroleum products in the Kingdom, but that LPG, more commonly known as propane, is gaining ground quickly.
Mr Kimura was speaking at the first forum on LPG in Cambodia held at Phnom Penh’s Sokha Hotel.
In 2015, LPG accounted for just 9 percent of the petroleum market. By 2040, it will represent 13 percent, Mr Kimura said.
By comparison, gasoline’s share will increase from 25 to 28 percent in the same period.
“LPG consumption and demand will increase rapidly up to 2040 as people start shifting from biomass stoves to LPG stoves in the residential and commercial sectors.
“However, the safe use of LPG will be crucial and the General Department of Petroleum of the Ministry of Mines and Energy will surely set up safety regulations of LPG suppliers, especially wholesalers and retailers,” he added.
Mr Kimura noted that LPG is mostly used in industry and transportation, as well as in residences and businesses.
Dith Tina, secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said an efficient management and oversight of LPG in the country will not just report benefits to the national economy, but will also help companies, hotels and households reduce costs.
“The government has been focusing on managing the use of LPG to make it safer. We use a lot of LPG now in Cambodia, but we have to think about how to make it safe for people,” he said.
Mr Tina announced that the government will soon issue a directive on the proper usage of LPG cylinders at households and retail businesses, and will create a special label for stations that pass inspections.
In addition, he said, “We will soon have the Petroleum Law ready. It is now being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice, who is discussing the clause on punishments.
“Then the draft law will move to the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly for approval,” he said.
Mr Tina urged people to keep an eye out for substandard LPG, recommending that they stay away from LPG cylinders from stations that fail to follow the standards set by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Last year, Cambodia imported more than 2.27 million tonnes of petroleum products, mostly from Vietnam and Thailand, according to a report from the General Department of Customs and Excise. Diesel imports equalled 1.24 million tonnes, gasoline 560,046 tonnes, and LPG just 224,369 tonnes.
A recent study by the Ministry of Mines and Energy concluded that the use of LPG in Cambodia is increasing by 7 to 10 percent on average every year.