Petrobangla refuses gas supply to new power plants | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 28, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 28, 2007

Petrobangla refuses gas supply to new power plants

The state-owned Petrobangla refused to supply gas to all but one of the seven under-construction power plants in Chittagong, Comilla and Feni apparently for an administrative mismatch.
Petrobangla's refusal came on account of nagging gas crisis, particularly in the command areas under Bakhrabad Gas System Limited (BGSL), sources said.
Of the under-construction power plants, four are small power plants (SPP) while the rest are rental power plants (RPP).
The private sponsors will set up the seven power plants on build-own-operate (BOO) basis and the government will purchase electricity from the plants to meet a growing demand.
The proposed four SPPs in BGSL-command areas are 20-MW Barabkunda, 20-MW Feni Grid, 10-MW Mahipal-Feni and 30-MW Jangalia-Comilla plants while the three RPPs are 50-MW Shikalbaha, 20-MW Barabkunda and 20-MW Feni plant.
But out of these seven plants, the Petrobangla expressed its willingness to supply gas to only one, the 30-MW Jangalia-Comilla plan, and refused to fuel the others. In a recent letter, the Petrobangla chairman communicated its limitations and refusal to the Power Division secretary regarding gas supply to the power plants.
In the letter, Petrobangla chairman said these seven plants will require 52 million cubic feet of gas (mmcd) per day. “But, under the present state of gas production, it will not be possible to supply gas to the plants except the 30-MW Comilla SPP plant,” says the official letter.
Sources, however, said having received the letter, the power secretary instantly discussed the matter with the Petrobangla chairman requesting him to ensure gas supply to at least four SPPs. Sources said the Petrobangla chairman, then, verbally agreed to try his best to supply gas to the SPPs. But he stuck to his position about the gas supply to RPPs.
Through this refusal the state-owned gas agency has virtually exposed a lack of coordination between the two divisions -- Power Division and Energy Division -- under one ministry. The Petrobangla, at present, produces about 1,600 mmcfd gas against a demand for some 1,700 mmcfd across the country.
The Chittagong region has experienced severe gas crisis as production in the region's main gas field at Sangu in the offshore area has been on a rapid decline, intensifying the crisis.
But the Power Development Board (PDB) under the Power Division has taken up one after another power projects without getting any assurance of adequate gas supply for fuelling the plants.
In its latest move, the Power Division floated tenders for ten small and seven rental power plants with generation capacity of 450 megawatts.
To feed the proposed power plants, which are supposed to come into operation by middle of next year, about 150 mmcfd gas will be required.
But Petrobangla can increase its production maximum by 100 mmcfd from only the Bibiyana gas field, leaving a great uncertainty about the gas supply to the future power plants.

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