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Dhaka Tribune

Maheshkhali island to become energy mega hub

The government is building massive oil storage infrastructure at Kalamarchara in Maheshkhali under the Single Point Mooring (SPM) project

Update : 23 Jul 2023, 11:40 PM

The government has developed the Maheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal as an energy hub, aiming to implement power plants and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal by 2027 to boost the country's overall economy and achieve self-reliance in the power and fuel sector. 

The island is 14 metres above sea level and has an area of 1,604 acres. The government plans to build roads and railways around the hub.

The planned hub will include a 14km sea channel and two jetties along with a power plant, oil storage and liquefied natural gas terminal imported from abroad. A total 37 projects are being implemented on the island, including the installation of solar power plants.

The infrastructure of this project has been constructed on most of two islands - Matarbari and Dhalghata - of the upazila. 

Policy makers and sector experts believe that once all the projects planned in Maheshkh

ali are completed, the country's energy crisis and the socio-economic picture of the region will improve significantly and become more sustainable.

Undersea oil pipeline to save Tk800 crore per year.

The government is building massive oil storage infrastructure at Kalamarchara in Maheshkhali under the Single Point Mooring (SPM) project. 

According to the project profile, the first-ever undersea pipeline in Bangladesh will mean that lighter vessels will no longer be needed to unload petroleum products from large tankers and transport them to refineries. The pipleline will save time and about TK800 crore, annually. 

Two parallel pipelines have been lain, one for crude oil and the other for diesel. There is a floating mooring point in the deep sea and a storage tank terminal at Maheshkhali.

As part of a trial run, crude oil will be unloaded from oil tankers to the floating moorings and then pumped to a storage terminal through a 16 km pipeline, according to SPM project documents.

If the test is successful, crude oil will be pumped through 94km of pipeline to the Eastern Refinery depot.

An oil tanker carrying 90,000 tonnes of crude oil from the Middle East will offload the first oil shipments at the mooring point, the project director said.

Dhaka Tribune

“This pipeline is going to open a new horizon in energy transportation in the country," he added. 

Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is implementing the project with financing from Exim Bank of China at a cost of Tk 7,124 crore. The initial cost of the project was Tk4,935 crore and the completion date was December 2018. 

Project Director Engineer Sharif Hasnat told this reporter that 97% of the work has been completed and the current deadline is June 30.

He said the diameter of the pipes between the mooring point and Maheshkhali is 36 inches. Between the floating mooring point and the storage terminal, 9km of pipes have been laid under the seabed, and 7km on the seabed.

The Maheshkhali terminal has six storage tanks -- three each for diesel and crude oil. About 115,000 tonnes of crude oil and 75,000 tonnes of diesel can be stored there.

Pipes from the storage facility to the Eastern Refinery are 18 inches in diameter. About 65 km of this pipeline is under the sea, said Project officer Monzed Ali Shanto.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Power Development Board officials said that the government is also working on the 250km Chittagong-Dhaka fuel (diesel) supply pipeline project at a cost of Tk3,171.85 crore and constructing a pipeline from Pitalganj (Purbachal) in Dhaka to Kurmitola Aviation Depot to save transportation costs and stop fuel wastage.

On a visit to the island, Project Director Sharif Hasan told this correspondent: "We are eyeing a master plan to utilize the potential of Maheshkhali island by building a number of power plant projects, and LNG terminal.” 

According to the project profile, the Power Division aims to build several coal-fired power plants to generate around 10,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity at Maheshkhali after dividing it into several blocks. 

Initially, the Bangladesh Power Development Board intends to build a 6,000 MW capacity ultra super critical coal-fired power plant on Maheshkhali island, followed by a 3,000 MW capacity LNG-based combined cycle power plant.

Around 5,000 acres of land is in the process of being acquired to implement these power plant projects.

Currently, nearly 100,000 people reside at Maheshkhali and adjacent islands. Many of them are labourers and work at nearby salt farms, while some also work in prawn fishing.

Maheshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md. Yaseen said: “The SPM project is a priority project of the prime minister. The implementation of this project will create employment for local people and unemployment will be eradicated from this region.”

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