Controversy surrounding Muchai Gas Pipeline Compressor Station of GTCL.

Kh.A.Saleque.

Kh.A.Saleque.

Courtesy: S M Tanvir.

One Bangladesh newspaper now being spearheaded by Engr Mahmudur Rahman, the ex Energy Advisor to PM Khaleda Zia and now a columnist recently carried out a report on alleged corruption in the deal with IOC Chevron regarding installation of a Gas Pipeline Compressor Station on GTCL operated national Gas Grid.

The report indicated an alleged $5 million financial scam against son of PM Hasina Sajib Wajed Joy and his Energy Advisor Dr Tawfique –Elahi Chowdhury. The report quoted unidentified Petrobangla officials making the allegation using Petrobangla letter head pad. Petrobangla and EMRD sources have already refuted that allegation. Dr Tawfique also was surprised and indicated his intention to deal with that matter legally. The matter has got further spices as leader of the opposition also got involved through making a statement condemning the alleged threat to Engr Mahmudur by two ministers for printing the report.

In a democratic country, in a free society any one has right to express opinion on any issue. But media must check and publish news after proper verifications. When such allegations are made against senior policy makers they should be heard before printing such sensitive news. We are not aware whether these were done. On the other hand ministers or government officials can always issue rejoinders and take legal actions.

The allegations against PM Hasina’s son Joy has been made at a time when a section of political leaders are discussing BNP’s decision to make ex PM Khaleda’s son Tareq Rahman the senior Vice chairman of BNP. Several reports are appearing in media about many alleged acts of corruption of Hawa Bhaban which used to be the seat of corruption during BNP – Jamat rule. The report was also published at a time When Dr Tawfiq was busy with a Bangladeshi Road Show seeking investment for Energy sector in London.

This writer do not wish not defend or charge any one. This author initiated the Gas Pipeline Compressor station Project of GTCL in 2004 as Director (Operation) and Project Manager. Some issues of controversy are being discussed here.

Chevron or any other US company can not bribe any company anywhere as per business ethics. Think of the Enron Scandal in India, think of Siemens scandal world over. US auditing system will unearth any wrong doings and the company concerned will have serious damage to its business.

Since a Bangladeshi newspaper has raised this issue it will be definitely dealt with appropriately. Persons concerned against whom the allegation has been made may also take legal recourse.

But considering the sensitivity of the matter let us try to discuss the matter in some depths. GTCL is a 100% government owned company entrusted to build, own, operate and maintain all Gas transmission pipelines and ancillary facilities. It has natural monopoly of Gas Transmission in Bangladesh. Since formation in 1993 it has taken over transmission assets from other companies and is operating national gas grid. GTCL evacuates Gas from all production Companies (National or IOCs) and transports through its grid to downstream Distribution Companies. The battery limit of production companies are the downstream flange of Custody Transfer metering stations. Beyond these the production companies have no scope to infringe GTCL premises.

Chevron like other IOCs can explore and develop any gas prospect in its assigned blocks under Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) with Petrobangla and Government of Bangladesh. GTCL or any other PB company have no contractual link with Chevron or any IOC. Gas produced by IOCs is traded with Petrobangla under specific Gas Purchase and Sales Agreement (GPSA) applicable for a particular gas field. IOCs explore and develop Gas fields under cost recovery which is made from Petrobangla share of Gas from the field included in PSC and GPSA. IOCs make upfront investment in survey, exploration and development of gas fields. They may construct sales lone to deliver gas to designated locations of national gas grid. Chevron built such sales lines in Jalalabad, Moulavibazar and Bibiyana Gas Field under cost recovery.

GTCL in 2004 using gas system simulation software acquired from Cairn through Petro Bangla carried out extensive simulation work of national gas grid in the wake of gas transmission crisis. It was found that system upgrading would be essential by 2008 to evacuate possible additional gas available from greater Sylhet areas for transmission to gas markets in South east, North West and central areas. Several gas transmission pipelines and three Pipeline Compressor stations were identified. At that stage Moulavibazar Gas field was under development and talks on Bibiyana development was at matured stage.

We ten Gas engineers (6 no longer in Bangladesh Gas Sector) were exposed to Gas Transmission technology during 12 weeks training on Gas Transmission with leading West European Gas Transmission Company Gasuine BV, the Netherlands in 1988. Later in 1995 we also visited some major Compressor stations in Alberta Canada. In 2003 we visited Williams operated Compressor station in Washington and in 2004 we spent a day in PETRONAS Compressor station in Kualalampur. Based on our experience and analysis of the comparative cost and benefits of Compressor stations and additional loop lines we struggled to convince the naive Petro Bangla management at that time to opt for three compressor stations at Muchai, Ashuganj and Elenga. The Compressor stations were required to be operational by April 2008. ADB engaged consultant also endorsed our recommendation. It was included in ADB funded Gas Sector Development Project. Engr Mahmudur Rahman must have had thorough knowledge of it.

This author explained to him the utility of Pipeline Compressor stations at a presentation in Ashuganj Gas Manifold station in July 2005. Unfortunately this author could not continue working in GTCL beyond August 2005 due to naked politicization of energy sector management. GTCL management and Petro Bangla struggled with the Compressor project.

In 2006 some acts of manipulations in its tendering process was identified and ADB forced government to cancel the bid and go for re-tender. The prolonged tendering process took several years. By early 2009 GTCL was in a position to ward the works to evaluated lowest bidder Hyundai, Korea. But their quoted price was about 2.8 times of GTCL estimate.

A section of PB officials were not in favour of awarding this tender to technically qualified lowest bidder. But they were keen to procure very expensive line pipes for other components of the project. As downstream pipelines without setting up compressor stations would not serve any purpose sensible professionals suggested to redirect some money saved from line pipe purchase to fund compressor project.

Unfortunately one identified corrupt senior executive of gas sector was very keen to buy expensive pipes rather than to invest on urgent compressor stations. The Petro Bangla Chairman, who was not in the game, was removed to create situation for the corrupt officials to take control. GTCL board meeting saw divided opinion. In the very first meeting chaired by that identified corrupt official GTCL proposal to ward Compressor project to evaluated lowest bidder was cancelled. In the meantime that official utilising his official capacity obtained a proposal from Chevron to build Muchai Compressor station under Cost recovery.

There were several media reports stating the wrong doing. PSC does not authorise International oil companies (IOCs) to build any transmission facility beyond its battery limit. GTCL has no contractual dealings with IOCs. Moreover the estimated cost of Chevron proposed Compressor station at Muchai is relatively higher. Recommendations of project consultant and GTCL committee were ignored.

Despite all above Government decision to allow Chevron build a GTCL component of a project was approved. Compressor station at Muchai is built by 2008 was justified. It could improve delivery pressure and evacuate stranded gas over the last two years to benefit downstream. But the present situation does not warrant the requirement of such expensive station at Muchai at all.

Cost of steel at world market has gone down significantly after 2008 Beijing Olympics. If line pipes were tendered after 2008 Bangladesh could buy pipes at much lower price. But some smart people took the nation for a ride.

We can not believe that advisor to PM and The PM’s son can be bribed by Chevron. But some person somewhere must have been benefitted in some way in the entire episode of failed Gas Transmission Development Project of ADB. For transparency the entire issue may be investigated. The Media should also act responsibly.

The failure of GTDP project as per original implementation schedule is responsible for present massive gas crisis – energy crisis. Properly structured national committee must investigate the reasons of the failure and punish the mischief mongers.

——–

Kh. A. Saleque (Saleque Sufi) is the ex-Director ( Operation) GTCL and writes from Australia.

[Read all posts by Kh. A. Saleque]


313 Responses to “Controversy surrounding Muchai Gas Pipeline Compressor Station of GTCL.”

  1. Alam

    Since Chevron has been involved in several corruptions. It is a possibility. Engr. Mahmudur Rahman is an honest person. He was not arrested by the Bangladeh Care taker Government in 2007 2008.

  2. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi)

    What honesty of Mahmudur Rahman got to do with Chevron Business ? Mahamudur Rahman is Chemical Engineer and Ceramic specialist this I can gurantee you. He knows how to grab opportunity. He is anti Awami League and anti liberation war.
    But he is not corrupt or opportunist like many political leaders.

  3. Shahriar

    @ Mr. Alam….you sound like a biased person. According to you, if any person is not arrested during CTG of 2007-2008, he/she should be called an honest person. So, in BD only a couple of hundreds people are dishonest. Good finding actually. We should be on top of the TIB report.

    Engr. Mahmudur Rahman is one of those political prostitute who sucks each n every dick available in front of him. In 16th December, when all news paper of BD writes about 16th December as the headline, only Mahmudur Rahman in his newspaper makes SCAM case as the main news. Is it that only his paper is the BIBEK of the country? This guy Mahmudur Rahman is top-to-bottom corrupted person and was the mastermind of Uttara-conspiracy theory during YES-uddin CTG regime.

    The main problem of BD is it’s vast number of STUPID and IDIOTS (not actually you) who just by looking at if someone is arrested or not, to offer a life-time honesty certificate.

    Just use some brain and look for the truth. Best of luck.

  4. Habib

    http://habib.amarblog.com/posts/94411

    ** মার্কিন কোম্পানি শেভরনেরপরিচালক (এক্সটারনাল অ্যাফেয়ার্স) ও মুখপাত্র নাসের আহমেদ জানান, তাদের বিরুদ্ধে উত্থাপিত অভিযোগ ভিত্তিহীন। শেভরন সারা বিশ্বে সর্বোচ্চ নৈতিকতা বজায় রেখে ব্যবসা পরিচালনা করে বলে তিনি দাবি করেন। অভিযোগের ব্যাপারে মন্ত্রণালয়ের তদন্তের উদ্যোগ সম্পর্কে শেভরন কিছু জানে না বলে জানান তিনি।

    ** পেট্রোবাংলায় আবু ছিদ্দিক নামে কেউ নাই । এই নামে কেউ নাই যিনি অভিযোগ কোরেছেন ।
    তবে পেট্রোবাংলার লেটারহেড প্যাডটি আসল কিনা তা নিয়েও সন্দেহ আছে এবং পেট্রোবাংলা তদন্তের আদেশ দিয়েছে ।
    ** বিদ্যুৎপ্রতিমন্ত্রি বলেছেন অভিযোগটি সম্পূর্ন মিথ্যা ও ভিত্তিহীন ।

    আসল ঘরে মশাল নাই ঢেকি শালায় চাদোয়া ….

  5. Masud

    Interesting development. Dr. Taufique Elahi in his interview reacted violently against the allegations. This sort of reaction is unbeccoming of a person as he is. Mr. Alam has a logic to put his comment on Mr. Mahmud. The caretaker govt truely identified the corrupt politicians and tried to nab them but unfortunately the people of Bangladesh do elect these bastard politicians time and again to rule over them and plunder the country along with our highloy corrupt judges in the High Court in Bangladesh – hope, I am not to be nabbed for defaming the ‘honorable judges ‘. The failed bureaucrats are given ministerial positions not because they are the only the options ignoring the professionals who could better contribute, but becasue these coterie know the intricate details of the functionalities within the bureaucracy and have the right contacts to feed the politicians to do their dirty works.
    Bangladeh is sitting on huge coal and gas reserves in the mainland and under its maritime boundaries – but why these are not being exploited? Petro Bangla Chairmen are either from the military or from the universities who are torch bearers of the party interests of corrupt political parties. Don’t we have honest professionals in home and abroad to guide us here? As far I could gather from newspapers, the allegation against Dr. Taufique and Mr. Jay has concrete details which seem to have been been conveniently ignored in the above write up. Petro Bangla chairman asked for the name of the person who brought up allegations – will anyone in sane mind speak up against the corrupt and powerful politicians in Bangladesh ? Mr.Monsur please don’t tell us bullshits and put your morale and good sense into the shit-pot ! I wonder, what will happen to the guy who exposed himself while exposing the scroundels in the looting spree. Btw, Mr. Shariar you could have been less hyper while being judgemental about Mr. Alam.

  6. afzal khan

    Mr Shariar,
    With due respect,i think you have some personal problem with Mr.Rahman and i am not interested to interfere in your personal affairs if there is any. According to your judgment, Mr.Rahman is not an honest person may be you are right, but would you mind to name me a political leader, name me a high official, name me a church judge, name me a business organization of any type, name me a teacher, name me a lawyer, which is truly respectable, honest, and not exploiting any, and everyone,and where the leaders are truly respectable, who do not lie, steal and kill for their controlling, and manipulating despotic puppeteers.
    We can go even further, they are prepared to sacrifice even their own blood for personal benefit.Remember dear, you can not expect honesty from a corrupt society.There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.The sky is going to fall on us, and we richly deserve it.The only remaining choices are that,let us stop humiliating each other, let us stop worshiping leader and party, let us stop looking others as devil, let us find out the definition of honesty,let us use our intellect as you said, let us exercise our patience maximum, let us advice others with definite proof and at last let us love the Eternal God . This is the only hope.
    There will be always difference of opinion and understanding no doubt.Remember difference of opinion and understanding is always healthy as long as we maintain tolerance.

  7. Shahriar

    Dear Mr. Afzal Khan,

    Thanks for replying to my message.

    When the logic is that if a person has been arrested by the CTG of 2007-2008 or not to decide about someone’s honesty, then it simply the most STUPID logic a human being can devise of.

    1. Mannan Bhuia, Amir Hossain Amu…they were not arrested. So, they are honest persons?

    2. Sayeed Iskandar was not arrested…so he was an honest man! There are a lot like this.

    3. No Army general was arrested. So, there’s no corruption in Army. I shall believe it during the KeyaMot only. Just wait till then plz.

    So, to consider Mr. Rahman as honest person based on such logic is always objectionable. Now, the question…how credible the report is? or what could be the intention behind it?

    –There are a couple of Anti-Govt. news paper. But nobody knew about the SCAM of this “Jalani Montrona-loy and Chevron issue” except Mr. Mahmudur Rahman and Gong. who happens to be the X-advisor of the same organization! And the objection was made by fictitous person which simply weakens the allegation as well.

    I don’t have any personal issues with Mr. Rahman. I am very normal person with only access to internet and certainly not to anything else. Based on previous activities of this Mr. Rahman, it is logical to put a ‘?’ sign just after his name andhis credibility and to assume his actions are just political propagandas.

    Well, there are good politicians even during the age of corruption….

    1. Motia Chowdhury…..AWL
    2. Nurul Islam Nahid…AWL
    3. Begum Monnujan Sufian…AWL
    4. Nazrul Islam Khan…BNP
    5. M.K.Anwar…..BNP
    5. GM Kader….Jatio Party

    There are a couple of few…you know the problem of this country?…it’s PEOPLE only…In the country where PEOPLE certify their leaders as honset/dishonest based on whether they were arrested/not arrested during CTG of 2007-2008, the country SHOULD remain as a CORRUPT country forever.

  8. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi)

    Can I politely request you to focus your radar to the issue raised in my write up as far as practicable. Mahmud was my batch mate in BUET, my initimate collegaue in Titas Gas. We shared same rented house in Dhaka at the outset of our professional career. We were initimate also till he spent about three weeks in EMRD . I had to suffer inc voluntary dissociation from Bangladesh Gas sector after serving 28 glorious years.
    I know Mahmud inside out. But since he was so intimate friend I will not make comments about him. But one thing I acn tell here when IN BUET or in Titas he was least interested about politics or Journalism. These must have been his added credential after marrying in Monno family.
    He was a honorable person. I hope he will be careful about his dignity.
    Politics in Bangladesh can make heroe a villain overnight. If one search holes in others his holes are also targetted.

  9. afzal khan

    Mr.Shariar,
    Again with due respect, i think most of the people with sensible mind will agree with you that, logic, arrested or not is not the yardstick to judge some bodies honesty and sincerity. It is the action based on correct adopted idea will judge some bodies honesty and sincerity. Honestly speaking, the point you wanted to raise is perfect with me. I do appreciate your focal point and concern..
    My dear,based on your comment i believe you must be a man of rational but your list of honest leaders are contradictory.
    1. Motia Chowdhury…..AWL
    No idea about her honesty but changed her political ideology.Honesty is in question mark.
    2. Nurul Islam Nahid…AWL
    No idea about his honesty but he changed his ideology. Honesty is in question mark.
    3. Begum Monnujan Sufian…AWL
    I have no information about her honesty.
    4. Nazrul Islam Khan…BNP
    No information about honesty.
    5. M.K.Anwar…..BNP
    According to his relative number one dishonest.
    5. GM Kader….Jatio Party
    He is the brother of Mr.Ershad. By profession he is an engineer.I know in his student life ( Chittagong engineering college)he never used his brother influence.
    Any way we all know, it is impossible to maintain honesty in the field of politics. If we can define what is honesty then it will be very easy for us to judge each and every bodies honesty with out any disagreement.
    Question now, who is going to define honesty??
    Definition of terrorism is still pending in the UN. Some bodies freedom fighter is some bodies terrorist. So we will remain divided because there is no unique yard stick. Hidden power wants us to remain divided. Let us try to build unity of thoughts in the field of national interest. Let us ignore irrational comments.

  10. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi)

    I am monitoring the discussion in the forum. If some one talks about honesty in the context of Bangladesh he/ she will have to struggle a lot. Remember in our youth a Bangla Stage drama was very popular, “Saath Manusher Khojey “. Still Mtia Apa is one of those rear breed. I have some experience of Mr Nahid when as Project Manager GTCL I had to g build a very diffult gas pipeline in Beanibazar area. Unscrupulous elements tried to cause serious troubles. I wanted his assistance as he was MP> But that was not available.
    Mr Nazrul Islam Khans wife Mrs Olifa was my collegaue in Titas Gas in 1977. Nazrul Islam Khan is a sensible politicina. M.K Anwar is one of the 303 listed convicted person. He made us BGSL waste huge tax payers money in taking gas to his area. Mr Kaders brother Open was my batch mate in BUET . I had opportunity to attend several seminars with Kader Bhai. He is really a bright visionary person.

  11. Shahriar

    To Mr. Afzal Khan and Engr. Abdus Saleque,

    About the allegation: Is it that only Mr. Mahmudur knows about every secret news of Titas or Petro-Bangla? There are no journalist who can serve the country on the same issue?

    Mr. Mahmudur has no credibility as the owner of the News Paper. He’s running the paper just to propagate the pet-doctrine of BNP and Zia Family. Just only one question….the news could have been posted on the 18th December as well. But, this has bee posted on the victory day when all other news have reported on our glorious 16th december as the headline!

    My writing is certainly not to support Joy and Mr. Elahi, however, I am just saying that people like Mr. Mahmudur has lost his all credibility!

    However, I think we should be asking him for the proof if he has any. And the objection should certainly include the name of a real person. You can’t use a name randomly and raise fingers to others. This will create a social outcast at the end. It’s the POOREST journalism indeed.

  12. afzal khan

    Mr.Shariar,
    Respectfully, may be it is my inability i could not make you understand my question, how we will judge some bodies honesty? My question is still there how we are going to define honesty??? Unfortunately every time you are bringing Mr.Rahman in your presentation. From the beginning i ask you my dear , may be you have personal problem with Mr.Rahman but you denied.But today in your response you confused me. Honestly speaking my concern is not MR. Rahman . My only concern is how we are gonging to judge some bodies dishonesty??
    Because of Amerdesh published the news?
    Because of Mr. Rahman?
    Because of MR. Rahman has no credibility as the owner of Amerdesh?
    Because other news paper did not published the news??
    Because Mr.Rahman is the supporter of BNP and doctrine of Mr. Zia?
    Because Mr.Rahman has lost his credibility in your view.
    Because of Amerdesh published news on 16th December?
    If what i mention is correct then are we not using logic again to judge dishonesty.
    Dear , i always try to learn from others. Please ignore my any kind of mistakes. I always like to raise question. i try to exercise my patience.
    I try to follow a principal———–
    Condemnation with out investigation is the highest form of ignorance.
    ALBERT EINSTEIN.

  13. afzal khan

    Dear Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi),
    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.

  14. Masud

    To: Shariar, Afza and Sufi:
    I do think, the debate is still within the limit of sanity – thanks.
    Just to make one point clear – ref Shariar’s mail. Its not that all the dishonest persons/politicians were arrested by the CTG, but the ones who were arrested are all proven felons, goons and culprits, but they were too powerful in a corrupt country where thieves and dacoits are the lawgivers and where high court judges can be bribed. If we judge honesty in a narrow sense i.e. from the perspectives of taking benefits when in power, then one or two may be cited – Matia Chow is one of them – even her opponents agree to it. But MK Anwar ? The entire debate triggered centering Dr. Taufique and Jay – I keep my cards under the blanket and wont be willing to bet on their hoensty.

  15. afzal khan

    Mr. Masud
    With due respect. Thanks for your honest comment and i do 100% agree with your following hponest remark.
    “”Its not that all the dishonest persons/politicians were arrested by the CTG, but the ones who were arrested are all proven felons, goons and culprits, but they were too powerful in a corrupt country where thieves and dacoits are the lawgivers and where high court judges can be bribed.
    EXCELLENT, we need unity of thought and we have to change our way of thinking, if we want to elevate our next generation.

  16. Masud

    To: Mr. Afzal.
    Thanks for your comments. If we are not party or coterie biased I do think, we can readily agree on the actual facts.The problem is we tend to affiliate ourselves with this or that tent. Its the country first and not the leaders or the parties. Our people seems to worship their leaders and does time and again forgave their mischiefs. I do still believe that the differences of opinions among us, as above, stem from the fact that we have our own perceptions and judgement on specific issues but when this is colored by party bias or any sort of likes and dislikes, we not only do immense harm to our country but also to our future generation by “giving ways” to the goons and the thieves to lead us. Thanks and regards.

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