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Chittagong Urea, three power plants shut down over gas crisis

  • Published at 11:19 pm November 5th, 2018
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Representational photo

Two power plants of 225MW and 150MW capacity at Shikalbaha of the Patiya upazila, and the other of 210MW at Raozan upazila stopped generation because of a gas crisis

Acute shortage of gas has forced three power plants and a state-run fertilizer factory in Chittagong to suspend production since Saturday, officials concerned have said.

Prabir Kumar Sarkar, chief engineer (distribution) of the Power Development Board’s (PDB) Chittagong south zone, said two power plants of 225MW and 150MW capacity at Shikalbaha of the Patiya upazila, and the other of 210MW at Raozan upazila stopped generation because of a gas crisis.

The PDB official, however, claimed that there was no power outage despite the development and that he has no idea when the gas required will be fed to the power plants.

According to Bangladesh PDB, the demand of electricity across the greater Chittagong region stood at 987MW on Saturday, when no load shedding took place.

Both the Shikalbaha power plants and the 210 MW unit of the Roazan power plant had resumed operation after the regasified liquified natural gas (LNG) was pumped through a pipeline in Chittagong on August 18 this year.

Before the addition of LNG to the previous energy mix, the supply of gas was around 225 mmcfd against an overall demand of 450 mmcfd across Chittagong.

The state-owned Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Factory Ltd (CUFL) also temporarily stopped production after the gas crisis worsened on Sunday, said a high-up of the factory, requesting anonymity.

The official said the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL), which is responsible for the LNG project, assured them of fixing the problem as soon as possible.

Managing Director Engineer Khaiz Ahmed Mozumder of Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited, which distributes gas in Chittagong region, said they had to stop supplying gas due to maintenance work by the RPGCL.

“The problem of gas shortage surfaced on Saturday evening and I am not sure when it will be sorted out,” he added.

Sources at LNG Cell under Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, said technical glitches at a sub-sea pipeline at a 40-metre depth in the Bay has snapped the LNG supply.

At least another week will be needed to fix the problem and resume LNG supply in Chittagong, helping ease the situation, they said. 

After missing several deadlines to start injecting LNG into the national grid, the country received a supply of regasified super-chilled fuel item, for the first time in history, as consumers in the Chittagong region started getting LNG from August 18.

The move was aimed to mitigate the country’s growing gas crisis and the rest of the country was supposed to get the fuel item after the demand of gas in Chittagong region was met.

Bangladesh currently faces a shortage of 1 billion cubic feet gas a day (bcfd), while the demand is around 3.7 bcfd. Considering the overall situation, the government signed a deal with Qatar to import 2.8 million tons of LNG annually for the next 15 years.

The introduction of LNG into the national network followed the deal with Qatar’s RasGas.