Petrobangla cancels LNG import cargo

Foreign experts arrive this morning

FE Report | Published: November 08, 2018 09:59:21 | Updated: November 08, 2018 17:47:27

Picture used for illustrative purpose only

The state-owned Petrobangla has cancelled a regular shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar as regasification at the maiden LNG terminal remained suspended for six days now.

Regasification at the FSRU (floating, storage, regasification unit) has remained halted since Saturday evening due to a damage to an underwater hydraulic valve.

RasGas of Qatar was requested not to the ship LNG to Bangladesh until further instruction, a senior Petrobangla official told the FE on Wednesday.

The state-run oil, gas and mineral entity is scheduled to import three LNG cargoes every month each carrying around 140,000 cubic metres of lean LNG.

RasGas so far supplied around 860,000 cubic metres by six vessels, said the official.

An 'actuator valve' located between the FSRU and the subsea pipeline started leaking gas at 7:00 pm on Saturday.

The fault led to a halt in regasification at the FSRU owned by the US-based Excelerate Energy.

Countrywide the gas supply has been suffering a setback as several gas-fired power plants and a fertiliser factory were shut in its immediate aftermath.

Households are struggling with low-pressure gas supplies during cooking.

According to Petrobangla statistics, around 327 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of LNG were being supplied to the national grid before the problem occurred.

Because of this, the country's overall natural gas supply declined to around 2,700 mmcfd.

The supply crunch in Chattogram is acute as the port city's clients alone had been using the regasified LNG since the commercial operation by Excelerate on August 18 last.

A vessel carrying 136,000 cubic metres of lean LNG from Qatar arrived at the Moheshkhali terminal on April 24.

However, technical problems and rough seas during the June-August southwestern monsoon, kept the vessel stranded off the south coast of Chattogram for more than three months.

Our Chattogram correspondent adds: Four gas-fired power plants -- Raozan 210MW x 2, Shikalbaha 225MW and 150MW plants -- and Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd were lying idle in the absence of supplies due to the damage to the hydraulic valve.

The second unit of Raozan 210MW plant, however, resumed generation with fresh fuel supply, said an engineer concerned.

Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd (KGDCL) sources said the damage would be repaired within a few days.

Sources said engineers of Petrobangla LNG Cell initially made a vain attempt to repair the damage to the pipeline 132 feet underwater.

Finally, Excelerate has been asked to repair it. A team of engineers and divers of the company were scheduled to arrive at Moheshkhali this (Thursday) morning.

KGDCL managing director Khayez Ahmed Majumder said the leak was caused due to a technical fault.

The KGDCL, dedicated to Chattogram region, is receiving only 170 to 180 mmcfd of gas, far less than it used to get before the termination of regasification, sources said.

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