The energy crisis of Bangladesh mainly due to fuel deficit is expected to be eased to a great extent when 500 MMCFD LNG is due to be injected into national gas grid from the middle of 2018 .
Informed persons are aware how the deficit of natural gas over the last decade or so stagnated economic growth. Delay in exploration and development of potential new gas resources in onshore and offshore necessitated import of LNG for keeping the wheels of the economy rolling.
The entire country in general and Chittagong region, in particular, is suffering from the acute gas crisis for almost a decade. The deficit officially stated is 600MMCFD +. About 250 MMCFD gas against a demand of 400 MMCFD can be supplied to Chittagong. As such RLNG supply from the middle of 2016 would come as a blessing for the gas starving Chittagong region. The 250-260 MMCFD gas that is being diverted from the national gas grid may then meet the present deficit elsewhere.
The under implementation Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) at Maheshkhali is expected to be ready for operation by April 2018. A 90KM 30 inches OD Mahekhali –Anowara gas transmission pipeline is already constructed by GTCL to transport RLNG from Maheshkhali to Chittagong Ring Main. The 1500 MMCFD capacity City Gate Station at Anowara is already hooked up with Chittagong City Gas Distribution ring main operated by KGDCL. The outstanding works of Metering Station of Anowara CGS should be completed by March 2018 Chittagong Ring Main would get about 400 MMCFD from the above arrangement. There would be flexibility of feeding KAFCO, CUFL and Power Plants at Shikalbaha from Anowara CGS directly.
GTCL is also constructing a 28 KM 42 inches diameter Anowara to Faujdarhat pipeline including Karnaphully river crossing for transporting RLNG to the national gas grid. This pipeline if completed by April 2018 would create the evacuation opportunity of RLNG to national grid. GTCL has also taken up a project for a 180 KM 36 inches Faujdarhat – Bakhrbad Gas transmission pipeline scheduled to complete by 2019.
Local company Summit Group is expected to have its 500 MMCFD FSRU ready at Maheshkhali by mid to End 2019. This will make available at least 1000 MMCFD RLNG by end 2019 . Some more FSRU and few land based LNG terminals are at different stages of implementation. Bangladesh has plans for 4000 MMCFD RLNG use by 2025.
LNG, a New Concept
Use of RLNG in Bangladesh fuel mix will be a new concept. The present gas price to end users would need adjustment prior to injection of every sequence of RLNG injection as weighted average of gas price in Bangladesh is well below economic price . Luckily global LNG market is now over supplied and it is possible for importing LNG at affordable price . Bangladesh has concluded agreement with Qatar for LNG supply . Talks are advancing with other countries for long term LNG supply . RPGCL , Petrobangla company managing LNG is also endeavoring to select LNG suppliers for supply from spot market .
In any case Petrobangla must adopt an appropriate utilization strategy supplying it to value added use only.The supply to efficient fuel using industries must be preferred. Present supply to domestic and commercial consumers must be phased out and replaced with LPG making it available to all users at affordable price. Gas use of Fertilizer plants and Power Plants must also be reviewed. CNG use may also be replaced with Autogas.
FSRU Must Be Complemented With Land Based Terminals
FSRUs wont be working 365 days. It may work for about 240-250 days only every year given the nature of Bangladesh oceans. Hence the sooner land-based LNG terminals are constructed the better. Till such time at least one land-based LNG terminal is in place new connections to large user must be controlled. Demand management must be planned and implemented.
Written By Saleque Sufi, an expert in energy sector infrastructure development, planning, construction management and operation in Central and South Asia and Australia, also served as an adviser to the petroleum ministry of Afghanistan.