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Friday, October 22, 2021

Qatar gas customers slow to swap metal cylinders despite explosion risk

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For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

Despite the growing popularity of Shafaf gas cylinders, Qatar residents and businesses can’t seem to shake their love for old – and potentially dangerous – metal tanks.

For several years, Woqod has been trying to encourage individuals and companies that use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to switch to the green-topped Shafaf cylinders. Both are commonly used in Qatar for cooking and barbecuing.

The newer tanks weigh less and safer, but cost more.

Last year, Woqod and Civil Defense officials carried out an experiment that involved exposing a traditional metal cylinder as well as a Shafaf model to intense heat and flame for seven minutes.

The metal cylinder exploded, “sending shrapnel flying over a wide area,” Woqod said in its annual report, released last week.

In contrast, the Shafaf cylinder gradually melted, but did not explode.

Shafaf
Shafaf

Woqod previously set a goal of completely phasing out the use of metal cylinders by 2019, the Gulf Times reported in 2014.

But even though more people are switching to Shafaf, it appears Qatar’s state fuel company still faces an uphill battle in reaching its target.

Despite doubling the compensation to QR100 for customers to shift to Shafaf, sales of the 12kg metal cylinders keep rising, inching up 1 percent last year to 5.15 million cylinders.

Sales of the 12kg and 6kg Shafaf cylinders collectively jumped 44 percent to reach 1.92 million.

Some 11 fires were blamed on gas leaks or “high heat or pressure” in 2014, the most recent year for which official statistics are available. The cause of more than 88 percent of Qatar’s 1,135 reported fires that year was not stated.

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