By Nyein Nyein
Three CNG tank explosions in the past 16 years, which claimed the lives of several people, have prompted the authorities to raise awareness on CNG safe practices, said U Hla Win Htay, General Manager of the Natural Gas Vehicle Department (CNG) under Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
“To ensure the safety of passengers and drivers, CNG tanks on buses are being inspected once a year. Once the gas tanks expire, they are no longer available for use,” he said.
“Since 2004, CNG cylinders installed on buses have been re-tested at the department once a year. Only two weeks are allowed for extending the due date mentioned on both the first and last pages of the CNG record book. CNG cylinders contain the date of manufacture and expiry. We do not allow using CNG cylinders past their expiration date as that can threaten lives,” said U Hla Win Htay.
There is one CNG cylinder testing workshop in Thakayta and two in Ywarma, Yangon Region. Since 2013, about 85,000 CNG tanks from Yangon, Mandalay, and Magway have been re-tested. More than 82,000 tanks passed the test, while more than 2,000 failed, as per data from the Natural Gas Vehicle Department (CNG) under the MOGE.
Of the three workshops, the one in Thakayta will be relocated to Mandalay in the current financial year. Some owners of CNG powered buses have sought an extension for replacing expired CNG cylinders due to the high cost of replacement, said U Hla Aung from the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA).
“The life of a CNG cylinder has a limit. It is mandatory to replace a cylinder after expiry for the sake of people. It is also to prevent possible accidents,” said U Hla Aung.
“Additionally, some passengers have poor knowledge of CNG buses. They do not get out of the car while refuelling,” he added.
The MOGE extended the exploration of CNG projects in 2014 to facilitate transportation in Yangon. There are 46 CNG stations across the country, with 41 located in Yangon, three in Magway, and one in Mandalay.
The daily consumption of CNG is estimated at over 24 million cubic feet in Myanmar. And, YBS buses, which provide transportation services to 1.8 million Yangon residents, account for more than 13 million cubic feet of the total consumption. Taxis use about 8 million cubic feet, and other vehicles consume about 2 million cubic feet, according to the Natural Gas Vehicle Department (CNG) under the MOGE. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)