LNG terminal installation
Petrobangla extends bid submission date againManjurul Ahsan
The government is struggling with its ambitious project expensive liquefied natural gas import as none of the short-listed firms are willing to install a floating LNG terminal on the Maheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal even after Petrobangla had extended the bid submission date three times, officials said.
They said that the state-run Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation, or Petrobangla, also extended the project implementation period by six months as none of the firms had not found it viable to install such a terminal in 18 months.
The Petrobangla chairman, Hossain Monsur, said that the corporation in the past week had extended for the fourth time the bid submission date by 10 more days.
With the latest move, Petrobangla has so far extended the date for the submission of bids for four times — from January 31 to April 15, then to April 30, thereafter to May 31 and now to June 11.
Petrobangla on May 3 issued a letter asking the four short-listed firms to attend a meeting scheduled for May 29 at the Energy Division. But only two of them turned up.
The state minister for power and energy, Mohammad Enamul Huq, on Tuesday, two days before the third deadline expired, sat with the officials of one of the short-listed firm, a joint venture between US-based Astra Oil and Excelerate Energy, to clarify their queries, Monsur said.
Another firm, South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corporation, was also scheduled to meet Energy Division officials on the day. But the meeting with the South Korean firm did not take place as the Energy Division deferred the schedule, a Petrobangla official said.
They said that Petrobangla had extended the bid submission date at the request of the US joint venture company.
Asked why Petrobangla was extending the bid submission date in phases, Monsur said, ‘We want all the short-listed firms to submit bids for the project.’
Petrobangla in December 2011 short-listed four international companies — Bermuda-based Golar LNG Energy, a joint venture between US-based Astra Oil and Excelerate Energy, South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corporation and India’s Hiranandani Electricity — for the installation of the floating LNG terminal.
In the face of acute gas shortage, the government, immediately after taking office in 2009, decided to import LNG at a high price, beginning 2012, to meet the growing demand for gas, particularly in power plants and industries in Chittagong.
It was against this backdrop that the government planned on building the terminal at Maheshkali with a capacity to handle 5.0 million tonnes of LNG a year, re-gasification of at least 500 million cubic feet a day, complete with berthing and mooring facilities for ships carrying LNG and for laying 91 out kilometres of pipeline to feed the liquefied natural gas into the national grid.
Gas Transmission Company Limited, a subsidiary of Petrobangla, meanwhile, gave to an Indian company a $36.324 million contract to lay out the 91km pipeline between Maheshkhali and Anwara, to supply re-gasified LNG from the proposed terminal to the national grid.
The government took up the project under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act 2010.
Petrobangla now supplies around 2,100mmcfd of gas. The current shortage of gas the country is facing is estimated at more than 500mmcfd.
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