Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | ePaper

Govt must take prompt action to end the uncertainity over LNG

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WE became very happy when American company Excelerate Energy's Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) 'Excellence' arrived at Moheshkhali deep sea on April 23 bringing 0.65 million tone liquid gas from Qatar. The $180 million project was co-developed by Petrobangla, Excelerate Energy and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. At that time, the authorities claimed that-Bangladesh entered the LNG era. People also hoped that, the imported LNG will be taken to the main terminal by lighter ships and it would be distributed through National Grid Line within May 12. But the reality is that, the floating terminal could not be connected with national gridline though over two and half months have elapsed.  
The unexpected delay, the reason not yet cleared by Petrobangla, has caused immense trouble to the industrial sector -- particularly, fertilizer factories and economic zones. Besides, the industrialists who have invested a huge amount of money in the industrial sector hoping that they would get gas connection by April are now passing their days in utmost anxiety. Nobody knows when the LNG could be supplied through National Grid.
According to newspaper reports, Petrobangla will also have to suffer huge loss due to the delay. The liquid gas is vaporizing through the leakage of the pipeline and for that reason the daily loss is about Tk 40 lakh. Reports said the Excelerate Energy, which is assigned to fix the pipeline with national grid, is now wasting time showing different excuses, including faulty pipe and high tide.  They said it would not possible for them to fix the pipeline if the high tide continues.  
Country suffers from two crippling energy shortages: electricity and gas. The grid based power shortages result in load-shedding and expensive diesel generation. In the meantime, residential, CNG, industrial and power users all struggle to access as much gas as required, while domestic gas has already started to decline. Pipeline pressure in the big cities is frequently very low. We agree, the introduction of LNG into the fuel mix is a critical step in overcoming these challenges while country is facing severe difficulties for shortage of local technical expertise.
The government must take immediate step to get a prompt solution in this regard. The uncertainity over LNG must be ended.

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