The government is mulling the establishment of the first ever onshore LNG terminal at Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, making it the country’s third LNG terminal.
“Bangladesh is discussing the proposed construction with Petronet India Limited and China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation (HQC), a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation,” said Zanendra Nath Sarker, joint secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division.
“Either of the two companies will be tasked with the project at Maheshkhali,” he said. “The land-based terminal with a 1,000 mmfcd capacity is expected to be built by 2024 or 2025.”
Energy experts and consumer rights activists have previously criticized the decision to import costly liquefied petroleum gas (LNG), claiming it would result in raised gas prices and distribution charges.
Sarker made the remarks while addressing a public hearing on the proposed hike of gas distribution charges. The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) heard the appeal of Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL) at the TCB auditorium in Karwan Bazar on Tuesday.
Once built, it will be the first-ever onshore floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU), also known as an LNG terminal, in the country. It will be the third LNG terminal overall.
The other two terminals are offshore LNG terminals. One was built by US-based Excelerate Energy, while the other is being constructed by local conglomerate Summit Group.
Discussing the delay in pumping LNG imported from Qatar to the national grid, the joint secretary said the pipeline installation work had gone badly because of heavy rainfall the country experienced during the middle of the year.
As soon as the 42-inch diameter pipeline is constructed through Maheshkhali to Feni via Anwara and Fouzderhat in Chittagong, the LNG will be added to the national grid, Sarker said.
He said the super-chilled gas would be added to the national energy grid by the end of the month.
“However, it will be impossible to complete the 290-metre long pipeline by the end of the year, because of the adverse weather,” Sarker said. “It might be completed by next summer.”
On June 11, the opening day of the public hearing, Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah announced that LNG would be added to the national grid in a week, and admitted to repeated delays in bringing LNG on line.
This is the fourth time he has announced a tentative timeframe for LNG supply.
The KGDCL authorities have proposed the gas distribution charge to be increased from Tk0.8011 to Tk1.05 for each unit of gas. The company currently charges Tk0.2489 per unit.
BERC Chairman Monowar Islam told the hearing that the energy regulatory body would hear the appeals on increases to gas prices and distribution charges sought by Petrobangla and Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd on Monday.