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LPG vs Natural Gas

In Indonesia, people use LPG or natural gas to cook foods or to produce hot water for bath. In my city, natural gas is less popular than LPG. However, in other area, people are starting to switch from LPG to natural gas. It is because the government program to utilize it as city gas.

Let’s take a closer look at which one is better from a cost, usability, and safety point of view.

Natural Gas

The use of natural gas for city gas is started since 2010. Until 2016, there are 185.991 houses which use city gas. It is distributed in 14 provinces and 26 cities/districts [1].

Not all cities can get city gas. It is because there are several criteria that shall be met to get city gas.

Gas city
Gas city

Transaction of natural gas is in energy unit (BTU, British Thermal Unit).


LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is usually sold in bottles. It contains mixed of propane and butane.


Natural gas is available in Indonesia. On the other hand, 67% of LPG in Indonesia is imported from The Middle East. LPG is also still subsidized. The impact is price of natural gas is cheaper than LPG.

For information, consumption of LPG in Indonesia is 6.5 million metric ton in 2018. To fulfill the demand, 70% of LPG shall be imported, which is equal with 4.5 million metric ton [2].

Natural gas is also always available. We do not need to go outside if we lack of gas. On the other hand, we need to refill/replace LPG bottle if we run out of LPG.


Emission produced from natural gas is lower than that of LPG. As propane is a byproduct of crude oil, it is one of the dirtiest energy sources. However, it is possible to refine LPG in ways that make it less harmful to the environment [4].


Natural gas is much safer than LPG. Weight of natural gas is lighter than LPG (molecular weight of natural gas is 16-19; while LPG propane is 44). When, there is leak, natural gas will disperse easily with air. Therefore, fire due to natural gas leak is much smaller.

Pressure of city gas is 0,03 millibar, while pressure of LPG is 0,4-0,5 millibar, so that risk of explosion is small [3].


Natural gas is cheaper than LPG. In addition, by using natural gas, subsidy from government will reduce.

Let’s calculate the price required price of natural gas for household.

For example:

Consumption of LPG in one house is 12 kg/month.

Average heat capacity of LPG is 11,920 kcal/kg.

Required heat capacity = 12 kg/month x 11,920 kcal/kg = 143,040 kcal/month.

LPG price of 12 kg LPG is IDR 139,000

If we switch to natural gas,

Average heat capacity of natural gas is 12,000 kcal/kg (9424 kcal/Nm3).

Required natural gas = 143,040 kcal/month x (1/12,000 kcal/kg) = 11,92 kg/month or 15,2 m3/month

If price of natural gas is IDR 3010/m3, then required price of natural gas = IDR 3010/m3 x 15,2 m3/month = IDR 45,687/month

Clearly, natural gas is much cheaper than LPG.

When is LPG better than natural gas?

Not all cities has access to natural gas, especially in rural areas. In that case, LPG is more accessible and affordable, because it is easily transported without gas pipeline.

I hope you enjoy this post! So, are you thinking of switching to natural gas? 🙂


[1] Menuju 1,2 juta sambungan gas rumah tangga pada 2019

[2] Impor LNG makin tinggi, Jonan: Bisa pakai Jaringan Gas

[3] Lebih aman mana, LPG atau Gas Pipa?

[4] LPG vs natural gas: comparing cooking fuels

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