Cooking Gas in the Countryside [Archives:1998/35/Business & Economy]

August 31 1998

Organized by the Yemeni Gas Company (YGC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation and the Environment Protection Council (EPC), a seminar on gas in the countryside was held during the period August 24-25. The workshop was attended by Dr. Rashad Rabah, Deputy Minister of Oil; Dr. Abdulmalik Al-Arashy, Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Dr. Hussein Al-Gunaid, Secretary-General of EPC; Anwar Salem, General Manager of YGC; Mr. Muckrid Shentha, Resident Representative, a. I, UNDP and Mr. Syed Shahid Mahdi, FAO representative.
The seminar aims at the following:
1-Discussing the current situation of using different energy resources in the countryside.
2-Discussing the possibilities of using gas in the countryside instead of firewood.
3-Finding ways and possibilities of preserving renewable natural resources.
4- Specifying the priority regions in the countryside in replacing firewood by gas.
In the seminar, 10 papers were presented. We will try to give in brief a summery of each one.
Gas Replacement & Model Villages

1-The first paper was presented by Engineer Adnan Mohammed Abdullah, YGC. The paper presented statistics about the number of gas stores and the current number of tankers transporting gas from the refineries to the filling stations.
The tanker fleet has now 250 tankers. The number increased by about 100 tankers. The number of gas stations has reached 48. The paper has focused on the trends of using gas for cooking, lighting, fridges, etc. It also mentioned the positive results of using gas on the social and economic levels.
In its third part, the paper discussed the attempts of establishing model villages which shouldn’t go beyond 5 regions for gas replacement. This should be provided with a media campaign raising the awareness of the public about the importance of using gas instead of firewood and its benefits. It recommended this should be done in cooperation with the local councils.
Forests & Forester Policies
The second paper of the workshop was presented by Engineer Ahmad Yahia Ali, Forests Administration. It discussed the current situation of forests in Yemen in which the environment and plants have witnessed during the last five years horrible destruction. The reason behind this is the returnees from the Gulf countries. These returnees tried to cultivate some farmlands at the cost of forests.
Another reason could be the expansion of cities, road building, forests fires, the absence of regulatory laws. The paper concluded with recommending the importance of issuing laws that organize the ways of exploiting the natural resources and raising public awareness about that.
Ways of Encouraging Gas Use In The Countryside
The third paper was presented by Mr. Abdulaziz Noman and Mr. Ali Ali AL-Mahdy, YGC. The paper indicates that the average amount of petroleum gas in Block 18 in Mareb is estimated at 2,200 tons. The used amount of it for household and industrial purposes is around 1,000 tons. However, the used amount for this purpose witnessed an increase in 1990-1997 from 60,491 tons to 381,000 tons.
But this figure is very modest in comparison with the countryside population that don’t use gas, which represent 76%. Therefore, it has become very urgent to invest in this field. Small gas cylinder filling stations must be built near the populated areas.
Trees & Family Life in the Countryside
The fourth paper was presented by Dr. Hamoud Al-Awdi, Sociology Department Head, Sanaa University and Environment Protection Society (EPS). Dr. Udy indicates in his paper that the field survey chosen areas in Mahweet, Ibb, Taiz, Abyan, Aden and Lahaj. The hypothesis of the study was based on the fall of the economic value of forest trees as a main resource of family fuel, economic awareness, absence of revenues and destruction of forest trees household use and the people neglect of these trees as an economic corp.
It is also made on the basis of the random cutting of trees and the absence of the government role and the official protection of the forests. There are many obstacles facing the use of gas like the expensive equipment, poverty, hazardous exploitation, etc. The population increase also leads to the increase of the firewood use.
The Socio-economic Impact of Gas Use in the Countryside
The fifth paper was presented by Ms. Nadia Mohammed Ahmad, Ministry of Agriculture. The paper discussed the main family fuel resources in the countryside represented by firewood and gasoline. It also presents the usefulness of gas use in the countryside, the most important of which is helping woman there and enabling there to participate in diverse social activities.
This will also protect our forests and decrease immigration to the cities. The paper also highlights the significance of women participation in gas replacement for their being the chief users of household fuel.
Economic and Commercial Aspects of Gas Distribution
The sixth paper was presented by Mr. Fuad Bamakraf, YGC. The paper talks about a study made by the company regarding suitable sites for establishing gas stations. Twelve sites have been marked and 15 will be marked in the future. Licenses have been given to 12 stations and licenses will be given to 6 more later. The paper suggested the establishment of small gas stations in the countryside.
Forest Regions which Can Be Saved by the Use of Gas
This paper has been presented by Mr. Anwar Abdulhameed Kahtan, Forests General Administration. It presented Baraa mountain forest in the Tihama, Arf mountain forest in Al-Makaterah, Alouz mountain forest in Khawlan, Hawf forest in Al-Maharah and Al-Arais mountain forest in Socotra island. All these are a good example of areas enriched with forests. So using gas in these areas is very urgent and a good step for announcing them as natural reservations.
By: Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi,
Assistant Managing Editor,
Yemen Times.