After long delay the supply of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) is set to commence from early May 2018.
The tie in of submarine section of the re-gasified gas evacuation pipeline with land based manifold station at Moheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar is completed.
The earlier completed 90 KM long 30 inches OD Maheshkhali to Anowara gas transmission pipeline completed earlier by Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) is commissioned with gas flowing back from gas grid.
Anowara CGS (city gate station) is also connected with 20 inches OD segment of Chattogram city ring main operated by Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL).
The Excelerate Energy Bangladesh Limited owned floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) with first consignment of LNG is expected to anchor at designated location of offshore within a day or two.
It will take at least a week to connect FSRU with the gas evacuation system, Petrobangla and Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) expects that LNG injection to Chattogram ring main may start from early May 2018.
On the backdrop of chronic gas supply crisis stagnating industrial operation and development for 7-8 years will be relieved with the commencement of LNG supply.
GTCL and Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) sources informed that initially 100 MMCFD re-gasified LNG would be injected to Chattogram ring main.
Gradually it will be build up to 250 MMCFD. The LNG supply would increase to 500 MMCFD after completion and commissioning of Anowara to Faujdarhat under construction 42 Inches OD 30 KM pipeline.
Chattogram region of KGDCL has a coincident peak demand of 400-450 MMCFD against which the present supply is about 200-230 MMCFD.
Several industries are waiting in the wing for gas supply. The entire 500 MMCFD re-gasified LNG may be required for Chattogram region only. The net saving of 200-230 MMCFD gas now supplied from national gas grid may be diverted to other areas till additional re-gasified LNG starts flowing after Summit Group and other FSRUs are in place and under construction Moheshkhali–Anowara 42 inches gas transmission pipeline is completed in 2019.
The design philosophy of Chattogram ring main provided for 420 MMCFD capacity at 350 PSIG is the gas is feed from Chattogram CGS. Needless mentioning that ring main is now operated at much lower than maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP).
Anyway with the commencement of LNG supply Bangladesh will step into new horizon of achieving sustainable energy security gasified LNG at a rate of 100 MMCFD is expected to start flowing.
LNG supply will bring relief and comfort to Bangladesh energy and 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 Chattogram gas franchise apart from launching all round endeavor for expanding own gas resource base government initiated action for importing LNG from 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 Excelerate Energy Bangladesh Limited 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.
The present supply of 2700 MMCFD is about 1000 MMCFD less than co-incident 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 poor quality supply. Industrial development came to stand still for lack of gas supply. Chattogram region along was suffering from about 250 MMCFD gas deficit. Now the primary supply of 250 MMCFD LNG will overcome that deficit.
The remaining 250 MMCFD re-gasified 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 national 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. Re-gasified LNG supply to national gas grid would require adjusting gas price as LNG price is higher than 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. Government deserves accolades for ultimate success in commencing LNG import.
Saleque Sufi is an eminent energy expert.