Cold weather increases LPG consumption by 20%
Truck carrying butane cylinders - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The cold weather hitting Egypt has resulted in a price hike of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders by 20 percent, with some cylinders being smuggled onto the black market to be sold at a high price, Youm7 reported

The government has increased the daily amounts of LPG cylinders to 1.2 million to avoid a crisis, and has intensified the supervision of repositories to prevent smuggling to poultry farms and brick kilns, where the LPG demand is particularly high.

The temperature in Cairo in the next weeks is expected to drop to between 10 C and 17 C in the daytime, and 7 C in the evening; with even lower temperatures are expected in other governorates.

Extra amounts have been made available especially in the Delta governorates. The fixed price of a LPG cylinder at a repository is 10 EGP ($1.40,) but can reach up to 18 EGP if sold elsewhere. During times of high demand, it can reach 30 EGP on the black market.

Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, the head of the control and distribution department at the Ministry of Supply, told Youm7 that his ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Petroleum to begin distributing LPG cylinders with ration cards, originally made to distribute subsidized bread. The system of ration cars was launched in August 2014.

Egypt secured large amounts of LPG from Algeria in 2014 and 2015, and negotiations are planned to secure the fuel until 2020.

Egypt subsidizes LPG, among several other commodities, a policy in place since the rule of socialist President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s. The majority of Egyptian households use LPG, but the government plans to supply 1.5 million homes in poor areas with natural gas through an approved World Bank loan of $500 million over the next few years.

Egypt has also begun to lift some of the subsidies in economic reforms to reduce the large portion of its budget allocated to subsidies to a population of over 85 million.

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