LNG Supply Will Be A Milestone Achievement: Khondkar Abdus Saleque

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Published on April 17, 2018
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Bangladesh’s energy sector is going to achieve a new milestone next month towards achieving sustainable energy security. It is now all set for the commencement of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supply to the national gas grid of Bangladesh from the first week of May 2018. The Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) to be owned and operated by Eccelearte Bangladesh Limited (EBL) with LNG from Qatar will anchor beside the platform at Maheskhali Cox’s Bazar on 23 0r 24 April 2018.The hooking of this with the transfer terminal would be completed by the end of April. The Maheshkhali –Anowara 90 Km long Gas transmission Pipeline of GTCL is ready in all respect. The Gas transmission Pipeline of GTCL is now under process of commissioning with gas flowing reverse from the national gas grid. Regasified LNG at a rate of 100 MMCFD is expected to start flowing into the system from the first week of May 2018. Under the present state, Chittagong City Ring Main Operated by KGDCL would take 250 MMCFD effecting this volume of gas now supplied from national gas grid meeting the existing gas deficit experienced for a long time. The regasified LNG flow will increase to 500 MMCFD as soon as the construction of Anowara to Faujdarhat 30 KM 42 inches gas transmission pipeline is ready for evacuating gas to the national grid.

Commencement of LNG supply will bring relief and comfort to Bangladesh Energy & Power sector suffering from chronic gas supply deficit for almost a decade. Proven reserve of own gas is fast depleting. The deficit kept widening. The gas deficit created gas famine in greater Chittagong Gas franchise Apart from launching all round endeavor for expanding own gas resource base government initiated action for importing LNG from the global market. The first such initiative of importing LNG through setting up FSRU suffered a set back for a dispute between World Bank and Petrobangla. However, shorting out all peripheral issues government took major LNG import program for importing LNG through setting up several FSRU and few Land Based LNG terminals. The first of such FSRU set up by Eccelerate Bangladesh Limited (EBL) is going to be operational from May 2018.Present government LNG program will import 2500 MMCFD LNG by 2025 and 3000 MMCFD LNG by 2030. In view of the present depleting own gas reserve, this would be a major boost to the long-term energy security of Bangladesh.
The LNG transmission into Bangladesh gas grid will usher in a new chapter in the energy and power sector of Bangladesh.The energy sector is suffering from chronic gas supply or over a decade. The present supply of 2700 MMCFD is about 1000 MMCFD less than coincident peak demand of gas franchise. Petrobangla requires alternating gas supply between power and fertilizer. Gas supply required rationing to all end users. Still, all consumers were suffering from a poor quality supply. Industrial development came to stand still for lack of gas supply. Chittagong Region along was suffering from about 250 MMMCFD gas deficit Now the primary supply of 250 MMCFD LNG will overcome that deficit. The remaining 250 MMCFD regasified LNG supply to national grid hopefully after June 2018 would boost gas supply to national grid improving gas supply quality to all consumers over the entire gas grid.

Once the beginning is made LNG import would start growing as more and more FSRU and few Land based LNG terminals would be set up progressively. Regasified LNG supply to the national gas grid would require adjusting the gas price as LNG price is higher than the weighted average price of gas in Bangladesh. Government has already decided not to supply pipeline gas for any new domestic users . Rather under LPG program would replace domestic gas use . Introduction of Auto Gas would also phase out gradually gas supply to Automobiles . LNG price would be lower than liquid fuel. As such LNG based power generation would be also far more appropriate from environmental point of view than coal power. Industries would also require to improve fuel efficiency. Bangladesh must gradually go for lower energy-intensive industries.

LNG will be a new experience. Government companies would require developing capacities for managing LNG system operation developing skills of manpower.

The government deserves accolades for the ultimate success in commencing LNG import.

- The writer is an expert in energy sector infrastructure development, planning, construction management and operation in Central and South Asia and Australia. He has served as an adviser to the petroleum ministry of Afghanistan.

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Energy, LNG, Bangladesh,