Gas Supply Crisis in Dhaka



Some Bangladeshi media reports indicate that some areas of Dhaka metropolis are experiencing natural gas draught. Small & medium scale industries, CNG filling stations in Dhaka suburbs and adjoining areas were complaining of low gas pressure for a while but now even domestic consumers are complaining about poor gas supply during mid day from different parts of Dhaka city. Gas supply crisis of another major city Chittagong is known to all. But in high summer gas crisis in Dhaka metropolis domestic consumers has given new dimensions to gas crisis.

Winter usually create some plugging of distribution lines due to condensation creating gas flow restrictions. When month of Ramadan used to coincide with winter sometimes crisis were a bit acute. But this time in high summer the gas system low pressure has started giving advance signal what may happen in the month of Ramadan and following winter.

Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Co Ltd (TGTDCL) responsible for gas distribution and marketing in greater Dhaka and Greater Mymensingh district consumes about 1420 MMCFD of total National Production of 1930 MMCFD.Dhaka Metropolitan City demand must not be less 300 MMCFD .Titas francise area gets feed

· From Titas Gas Field through Titas –Noshingdi – Demra Transmission Pipeline & Titas –Norshingdi – Joydevpoor Transmission Pipelines.

· From National Gas Grid through Bakhrabad – Demra Pipeline, Ashuganj – Elenga & Ashuganj –Monohardi Loopline

(Monohardi –Norshingdi feeder line, Dhanua – Savar Spur line)

Dhaka and TGTDCL always got preferential treatment while gas sharing between TGTDCL and BGSL system were came into discussion . Dhaka Clean Fuel project TGTDCL component was designed to address low pressure problem of Dhaka City. Still it is unfortunate that low pressure of Dhaka System persists. Is it a problem of inadequate Gas Transmission to Greater Dhaka or it is due to restriction of Dhaka distribution network? We hope senior Titas professional and Titas superiors now in Petrobangla and GTCL leadership have the answer.

We understand that all the distribution pipelines included in the TGTDCL component of Dhaka Clean Fuel Project are already constructed. Together with gas available through Dhanua – Shavar spur line built by GTCL it should mitigate low pressure problem unless there was some flaws of distribution net work simulation taken as basis for distribution system balancing. Petrobangla daily report now indicates that national production is increased to 1930MMCFD. Bibiyana is producing 670MMCFD from 12 wells against its capacity shown as 600MMCFD (only few weeks back PB used to show it as 500MMCFD). Two fertilizer plants UFFG and PUFF are shut down. These should have improved Gas supply situation to TGTDCL as additional gas now is transmitted to TGTDCL only because of Transmission constraints for gas supply to Chittagong area.

So the constraints must be gas transmission to Greater Dhaka. TGTDCL system planners were always conservative. When BGSL built 24” OD Bakhrabad – Chittagong Pipeline in 1980s they criticised. When BGSL built 20” OD BKB –Demra Pipeline they told this was not necessary. They built 16 “OD /14”OD combination Transmission pipeline in 1984 from Titas which should have been at least 20”OD. Those white collared impractical planners created all these restrictions. They definitely should have had correct demand projections while designing the system. TGTDCL also provided all gas connection in Dhaka system. They should have cut coats according to the cloth. TGTDCL has only them to blame for the current situation.

There are media reports that by December two new power units at Siddhirganj will commence generation. We hope, these would use furnace oil .If not gas distribution of Dhaka region would be further stressed.

The gas supply situation is not expected major improvement soon. There may be marginal improvement from Titas and Bakhrabad fields. But those might be trickles in ocean. With few more new wells Bibiyana may step up production to 800MMCFD but transmission system without pipeline compression or another loop line from Rashidpoor can not evacuate this gas. So if Government and Petrobangla really desire to improve TGTDCL gas supply scenario the following decisions may be taken

· Rexplore and develop Sreekail Gas field on priority Basis.

· Redevelop Bakhrabad after 3 D seismic Survey.

· Bulid another 20 “Feerder line from Monohradi – Joydevpoor via Norshingdi.

· Bulid 9km 20” Loopline from Khaithata – Ashuganj.

Government may need to take another unpleasant decision of shutting down ZFCL to save about 45 MMCFD for augmenting gas supply to other consumers in TFA.

All these actions can be taken within two years under crash program.

For GTCL projects government set up a high level Project Implementation Team. If the Compressor project and Transmission pipeline projects are delayed not only Dhaka system the national gas supply crisis will be prolonged causing serious embarrassment for the government.

Kh A Saleque (Saleque Sufi) is one of our guest writers, He is an Engineer by profession and lives in Australia.