The refusal of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) to permit a gas supply pipeline is depriving the national grid of 10 million cubic feet gas supply and forcing a Tk60 crore plant to sit idle.
More than two and half years have passed since the discovery of Rupganj gas field in Narayanganj. A processing plant worth Tk60 crore has been built on the field to supply gas into the grid, but it is sitting idle. The cost of digging the gas field well was around Tk100 crore.
Sources in the Energy and Mineral Resources Division said that even though all the other works of the project had been completed without much hassle, the construction of the pipeline could not be started because of lack of permission from the RHD.
The gas field was discovered by the State-owned Petrobangla’s exploration wing Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (Bapex). It can supply 10 million cubic feet (mmcft) of gas with which a 50MW power plant could be powered or around 100 large scale industries could be operated, said an official from Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited.
Industry insiders say gas from the Rupganj gas field could have solved the existing gas crisis in Narayanganj industrial area where many of the gas driven industries are suffering from limited supply.
Sources said the Power Ministry will soon hold a meeting to talk about this issue, which Principle Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad will preside over.
Petrobangla in June 2014 declared Rupganj the 26th new gas field in Bangladesh.
The field may have a reserve of 50 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, meaning a daily supply of 10-15 mmcft would last for around 17 years.
The authorities need to set up a 6km-long gas transmission line to feed it to the national grid.
Titas Gas needs permission from the RHD as the gas field is located near Purbachal area. The pipeline will be built on RHD’s land.
An official with the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, seeking anonymity, said that despite repeated attempts, Titas has failed to get the permission from RHD.
Titas MD Mir Moshiur Rahman said: “The Roads and Highways Department has told us that in the future there will be projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) here and the presence of the pipeline will create problems.”
Titas has been unable to get permission for the pipeline despite repeated attempts, Moshiur said.
“We have informed the highest authority of the government about this,” he added.
Bapex MD Md Atiquzzaman said: “We have already built a processing plant to supply gas to the grid.
“Titas gas was supposed to buy gas from us but since the pipeline cannot be built, our plant is sitting idle.”
Ebne Alam Hasan, chief engineer of RHD and MAN Siddique, secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division could not be reached for comments.