Omera joined WLPGA in April 2016 and is the first member to come from Bangladesh. WLPGA spoke to Mr Ishtiaq Ahmed, CEO of OPL (Omera Petroleum Limited) & OCL (Omera Cylinders Limited).
WLPGA: WLPGA recently welcomed Omera as a new member. Please tell us about the company, its history, your main products.
Omera Petroleum Limited (OPL) is a subsidiary of MJL Bangladesh Limited. The parent group has experience of 35 years in the energy industry which is its key edge over competitors. OPL has an investment of around $75 million with its four bottling plants having a consolidated annual LPG supply capacity of above 100 000 MT. This is the largest LPG infrastructure in the country with 100% European machinery. OPL is the only company having a self propelled LPG carrying Barge to transfer LPG within the country using its vast river routes. We started our commercial operations in March 2015 and our vision is to be the market leader in Bangladesh LPG Sector by 2018. Omera Cylinders Limited (OCL) is also our LPG Cylinder Manufacturing Facility, capable of producing 500 000 LPG Cylinders annually using European Machinery and Standards
What is your key market, is it regional or global?
Our focus is selling LPG in our home country in Bangladesh. However, we have received approval for exporting Bulk LPG to Nepal and will do so in near future.
Have you engaged in any particular sales or marketing techniques to promote your market share in Bangladesh?
Our marketing activities are benchmark in the Bangladesh LPG industry. We have gained awareness among all key stake holders within a very short period. Our brand equity has become very strong in short span of time which can be a case study for the WLPGA. The sales and distribution activities are also very robust and reached the level of the market leader within less than a year. We have gained around 14% market share within a year. (Note: There is no Retail Audit in LPG industry. The share is based on multiple sources of data like import data and off-take at retail points)
Safety is obviously an important issue, does Omera have any specific techniques to improve and promote safety?
OPL is extremely cautious about safety. OPL developed users leaflet depicting different basic safety precautions through an expert from the ”Department of Explosives”. No other company has developed such a comprehensive pictorial safety guidelines for the users. We have distributed safety leaflets during our commercial launch. We are also engaging social media to high light different basic safety aspects while using LPG. Our four bottling plants are equipped with the most advanced safety technology and is being appreciated by all key stake holders in Bangladesh.
You recently joined WLPGA, what do you hope to get out of membership of the association?
By current standards the Bangladesh economy is growing at hyperspeed. At the moment, almost 99% of the LPG consumption is at household level. The industrial sector and auto -gas are yet to pick up the growth momentum. It is expected to grow from 2017 based on different indicators. Therefore, WLPGA should focus more in Bangladesh and need to assist us in the following areas :
1) technical training for industrial installations, auto-gas and reticulated systems
2) workshops on sharing global best practices in market development
3) safety awareness
4) awareness building and assisting in identification of diversified usages of LPG
Would the CEO of Omera like to say a few words?
The GDP of Bangladesh has maintained average growth rate of around 6% over the past 15 years. The other social indicators have also improved significantly. Out of our total population of 165 million, 45% are young workforce.
The country has huge potential and its energy sector will be the most important vehicle to drive its future growth. The Government of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh is also extremely supportive in promoting LPG as an alternative to natural gas. Putting all these factors together, our vision is to lead the transformation in LPG industry in Bangladesh and we are on track so far.