Photo: Bangladesh Power development board (PDB) has been installed wind power project at Kutubdia near to Bay of Bengal with cost of TK. 9.5 crores. At least 1,000 consumers have been under taken this power supply project. Kutubdia, Bangladesh. June 09 2008.by: Mohammad Islam, Coxs Bazar.DrikEWS.
On June 23, 2009 in the Energy related round table conference at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka, we made several recommendations to confront prevailing and emerging energy crisis. The round table was attended by the Energy Advisor of Prime Minister, current State Minister of Energy, some leading Parliamentarians, current Chairman of Petrobangla, Current and Past FBCCI presidents, and many other authoritative figures of the sector. We discussed issues relevant to energy crisis, gas crunch and discussed various issues and options. It was the 7th year of launching of Energy & Power news magazine. In June 2009, Bangladesh was in the grip of serious energy crisis. People were greatly suffering but still had sympathy for newly installed Coalition government and were optimistic that pro-liberation pro-people government would do its best to redress the situation.
Almost a year is gone after that. Another irrigation season has just started and summer is about to set in. Our Dhaka friends and relatives are complaining that gas supply situation has, in fact, worsened; 3-4 hours of power load-shedding has become a current occurrence and last morning media has carried news captioned “PDB fears massive outage”.
We 8 NRBs were in Bangladesh from USA, Australia and Philippines to participate in Government sponsored brain-storming on coal mining strategy. Over a period of 4 days in Jamuna Bridge Resort, we had intensive inactions with Government policy makers and resident Bangladeshi professionals on coal mining strategy. Professional coal miners from hands on mining experience suggested what needs to be done at Barapukuria under performing mine. Mine city planner, GIS experts presented relevant aspects of resettlement and rehabilitation issues. We discussed Environmental and other aspects associated with mining. We also left behind a complete set of recommendations on coal policy. One year is almost whistling away .Coal policy continues to remain in hibernation. Leaving huge domestic coal resource underground vested quarter is conspiring to set up coal fired power plants based on imported coal.
Over the last one year no new gas field was discovered- actually there were no exploration efforts to discover any gas resource. No gas field was further developed .No action was taken to seal leakage of Titas gas field. No new gas transmission infrastructure of gas was set up. Even regular maintenance of gas pipelines to retain design capacity operation was done. Demand has grown in the meantime. Production crisis and transmission constraints of gas system has created crisis over power generation, fertilizer production, operation of industries. Can any democratic government sustain this situation so long? What are the answers of energy sector policy makers?
PM Hasina inaugurated operation of Gas fired Siddhirganj Power Plant only 8 days ago. Gas supply to hundreds of industries of Rupganj and part of other Narayanganj areas were kept suspended to allow gas supply to Siddhirganj Power plant of Indian Company BHEL. Even then due to low gas pressure the plant operation has been shut down.
Last winter Dhaka City and adjoining areas experienced the worst gas crisis of history .None told us that situation improved much.Despearte management went for gas rationing- holiday staggering, planned to shut down CNG fuelling station operation till 4PM on every week days. These may not bring much relief experts apprehends.
According to reliable sources gas deficit is about 300 MMCFD now. National Production capacity is 2000MMCFD but for transmission constraint, only about 1950MMCFD can be transported. Even that transportation is affected by low pressure over entire gas grid as in the main transmission segment N-S Corridor from Beanibazar to Ashuganj transmission system is supersaturated. No on-stream pigging to clean these pipelines has been conducted since the commissioning of these pipelines. There are no pipeline compressor stations in the system. Coalition Government has already run into controversy regarding Muchai Compressor installations. So there is no immediate respite from gas system crisis.
The ensuing irrigation and following summer saw the increase of power demand already by 5000MW per day. PDB can generate about 3800-4000MW. There was little or no addition from last year. PDB claims that about 600MW capacity is lying idle for gas supply crisis. Media reported that Petrobangla confirmed – not more than 750MMCFD gas can be allotted for power generation this season. PDB claimed that they got 800MMCFD last year.PDB fears of uncontrolled load shedding if Petrobangla can not supply more than 750MMCFD gas for power generation. PDB feels that about 4500MW power generation is possible if it gets about 900MMCFD gas supply per day. It is not only now; we can guarantee that in the next two years too, Petrobangla may not be in a position to supply 900MMMCFD gas supply to PDB for power.
It has been learned that PB is taking actions to increase gas production from Tullow operated Bhangura , Mghna and Titas field. But there is no guarantee that these will be available soon.
Citizens of Bangladesh have every right to question Coalition Government management about non-performance rather non achievement of power sector and gas sector over the last 1.25 years. Why leaving development of energy sector issues uncared for while energy think-tank was busy with useless Road Show at London, New York and Singapore? What benefit these brought to Bangladesh energy sector? Why PDB and Petrobangla Chairman could not resolve gas supply to power generation issues when they were in pleasure trips in the name of Road shows abroad?
We feel Energy Sector policy makers and managers owe explanations to the nation. Prime Minister Hasina as Energy Minister must own her failures.
We can not come out of the crisis so long we can realistically diversify fuel for power generation. We must immediately adopt appropriate coal mining strategy. Domestic coal is our best option for power generation. We must start mining of coal in our mines by economic means to extract maximum resource in proven technique and start setting up some large capacity mine power plants. Plants on imported coal will not be economic and cannot be in less than 5 years in current reality. These are all hypes and ways of trapping Bangladesh permanently on Indian dependence. LNG option is also time-consuming and very expensive.
Gas sector is also suffering from competency crisis. Key management has little capability. There is no way gas system can come out of present crisis in less than 3 years. But some contingency measures can create some comfort. We do not understand why gas saved for routine maintenance of KAFCO and forced outage of CUFL can not bring Raujan and Shikhalbaha to full capacity generation at least temporarily. Fertilizer plants unfortunately are the only ones which has can be shut down on rotations to divert gas for other use including Power plants. PDB must also try to produce maximum from Energy efficient plants. People do not want to listen to blaming games between PDB and Petrobangla.
• Raujan and Sikalbaha must be kept operational over the entire period of KAFCO maintenance.
• CUFL when back in operation should be operated at optimum gas load.
• During maintenance of JFCL, GPS must get the gas saved,
• On-Stream Pigging of N-S, R-A and A-B Pipeline must be carried out on Top Priority Basis. Otherwise Gas System low pressure situation can not be overcome.
• Authentic audit can be carried out by parliamentary committee about Performance of all IOCs and management of PSC by Petrobangla. Inactions in exploration of Petroleum and Mineral resource are the main reasons for the present massive energy crisis.
• GTCL Compressor Station Project of Ashuganj and Elenga must be expedited.
• Coal mining at Phulbari immediately by Surface mining method and Barapukuria by same method after 2011 must be planned without delay.
• At least two 500MW each Coal Fired Power plants must be set up in Min Mouth in Phulbari Area
• Khalaspeer and Dighipara must be explored under PPP.
• Prospect of CBM from Jamalgonj must be explored.
• Cairn-Santos must be given proper incentives to successfully carry out exploration at Magnama and Hatiya.
• PSC with Conoco Philips and Tullow must be signed without delay.
• Next bidding round from remaining offshore Blocks and onshore blocks must be initiated.
• Actions for LNG import facility set up must be initiated so that by 2-15 we are in a position to switch to LNG after adjusting our energy price in several small steps.
In the ensuing irrigation season and following summer, citizens will suffer. There is nothing government can do other than rolling some heads which continuously misguided policy makers.
Written by Kh. A. Saleque (Saleque Sufi) is the ex-Director (Operation) GTCL and writes from Australia.