Economy
10 days ago

Gas supply system suffers fresh setback

Published :

Updated :

A major pipeline dedicated to carry RLNG from Moheshkhali Island was damaged Tuesday afternoon, intensifying the gas supply shortage in most parts of the country.

Immediately after the incident, the authorities concerned had to squeeze re-gasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the presently lone-operational FSRU of Excelerate Energy by nearly 63 per cent to 225 mmcfd only from usual output of 607 mmcfd, officials said.

The country's overall natural gas output, as a result, dipped to around 2,230 mmcfd from around 2,600 mmcfd one day ago, according to official data of Petrobangla.

The country's two floating storage and re-gasification units (FSRUs) are supposed to produce around 1,100 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of RLNG. However, the one of Summit Group remained non-operational since it was hit and damaged by the cyclone Remal.

The 30-km 42-inch Anowara-Fouzdarhat RLNG-carrying pipeline was damaged when it was hit by a soil test rig being operated by a Chinese firm - First Harbor Consultant Ltd (FHCL) - at Majherchor area on the bank of the river Karnaphuli in Chattogram, a senior official at the state-owned Gas transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) said.

"We identified a porous in the pipeline Tuesday afternoon and subsequently squeezed LNG re-gasification from the currently operational FSRU at Moheshkhali island in the Bay of Bengal and stopped gas flow to the pipeline," Petrobangla director for operations and mines Kamruzzaman Khan told the FE Wednesday.

The pipeline is dedicated to carry RLNG to the country's western parts, including capital Dhaka, he added.

State-run Petrobangla is now able to supply RLNG only to the country's southern Chattogram region through a 91-km (56 mile) 30-inch Moheshkhali-Anowara pipeline, Mr Khan said.

Sources said the FHCL has been assigned by another Chinese company - China Road Bridge Construction Ltd (CRBCL) - to carry out soil tests and build a jetty on the Karnaphuli river.

"But neither the CRBCL nor the FHCL had contacted the GTCL before carrying out the soil tests with the rig there," the GTCL official alleged.

Comments from any of the Chinese companies over the issue could not be gathered immediately.

The Chinese firms were working there to build the jetty to be used by the China Economic Zone now being developed there, the GTCL official said.

"We have started working on depressurising the damaged pipeline before carrying out the repair work," he said.

It would take at least a couple of days to repair the pipeline laid 5-6 feet below the ground, said the GTCL official.

When asked whether the Chinese companies will compensate for the damage, he said that the top management of the companies concerned will decide on it.

The GTCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, builds, owns, operates and maintains the national gas grid and gas transmission pipelines.

Bangladesh has now been grappling with lower RLNG supply, affecting power generation, hampering industrial output and mounting sufferings to all gas-guzzling consumers.

Petrobangla has been rationing gas to consumers to cope with the short supply of natural gas.

Petrobangla regretted the inconvenience of the gas consumers.

LNG regasification from the Moheshkhali floating LNG terminal dipped due to damage of the Anowara-Fouzdarahat 42-inch pipeline following an accident, it said in a statement early Wednesday.

Lower gas pressure will prevail under the jurisdiction areas of two major state-run gas marketing and distribution companies - Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd and Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Ltd, it noted.

Bangladesh has already been facing setbacks over LNG imports and re-gasification for more than one month since halting the operation of 3.75 million tonnes-capacity at Summit LNG Terminal on May 30 due to post-cyclone Remal mayhem.

"During cyclone Remal, a broken stray steel structure weighing hundreds of tonnes banged the Summit LNG Terminal, causing significant damage," says a statement from Summit Group.

Bangladesh had to cancel four spot LNG cargoes for June delivery and defer several long term LNG delivery schedules, said a senior official of state-owned Rupantarita Prakritik gas Company Ltd, or RPGCL.

"We shall have to defer some LNG cargoes this time too until the damaged pipeline comes back online," he said.

Summit's FSRU, however, is expected to reach Moheshkhali mooring facility by today (Wednesday) evening after repair works, said the RPGCL official.

It is expected to initiate LNG re-gasification after five to six days, he said.

[email protected]

Share this news