Acute gas crisis hits industrial production
declining Tk 3 cr daily
Golam Mostafa Jibon: The production of different industries and factories is being hampered due to acute crisis of gas that posing threat to the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, the decision to keep closure of all CNG filling stations across the country for four hours from 6:00 pm every evening has been started.
Apart from this, the residents are suffering from cooking as there is no gas in their houses in different places. In such a situation, there is growing concern about gas in various sectors. The most concerned are the industrial and manufacturing sectors. Recently, the Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) said that, due to disturbance of gas supply, the production of ceramic factories is declining by around Tk 3 crore a day. Besides, huge amount of ceramic products waiting to be burnt in the factory are being wasted. BCMEA has written to Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company seeking a solution to the crisis.
The government is providing LNG from abroad with huge subsidy every year to meet the demand for gas in the country. But, ordinary people are not getting the desired benefits. Concerned parties said that, LNG imports have been declining for several months and domestic gas production has also declined, which has affected the supply.
Anisur Rahman, Senior Secretary of the Energy Department said, “We have decided not to buy LNG from the open market due to rising prices. On the other hand, less gas is available from domestic wells. The crisis is happening because the supply is less than the demand.”
He however said, the crisis would be resolved once the work on floating and land-based LNG terminals was completed. PDB Chairman Belayet Hossain said,”If the supply of gas decreases, they may have to increase their dependence on oil.
It will also increase the cost.”
However, there is no good answer on how to resolve the current crisis. In a letter to Titas signed by BCMEA Executive Secretary Jahedi Hasan Chowdhury last week, it was said that the gas crisis was hampering the production of ceramic utensils, tiles and sanitary-ware factories. Factories in Trishal and Bhaluka in Mymensingh, Maona, Sreepur, Joydevpur, Bhabanipur and Bhawal Mirzapur in Gazipur have been facing severe gas crisis for several days.
Depending on the factory’s production capacity, loads of up to 15 PSI (pounds per square inch [per square inch of gas pressure unit]) are allowed, but gas pressure sometimes drops from 1-2 PSI to zero.
The letter further said that, due to the gas crisis, the factories are not able to export their products on time. There is a fear that the export purchase order will be canceled. Factories in different areas of Mymensingh and Gazipur are shutting down one after one due to insufficient gas supply. As a result, the production of ceramic utensils, tiles and sanitary-ware worth Tk 3 crore is decreasing in these areas every day and the ceramic products waiting to be burnt are being wasted.
The leaders of BTMA, an association of textile mill owners said, the production of many textile mills in Narayanganj, Savar, Dhamrai, Manikganj, Gazipur and Chattogram was being severely hampered due to low gas pressure in the pipeline. They complained that the gas pressure had dropped to 1.50 PSI. Consequently, 70 percent of the factory’s production capacity is not being utilized. The average output of the textile sector has dropped by almost half.
BTMA President Mohammad Ali said, “The LNG terminal has been built at a cost of thousands of crores of Taka. Large ships can crowd there. Even then the factories are suffering from gas crisis. We are not getting gas because of the supply of gas to the fertilizer plant.”
He also demanded immediate steps to increase the supply of LNG to the national grid.
At present the daily demand of gas in the country is 430 crore cubic feet. Last week, Petrobangla supplied a total of 310 crore cubic feet of gas. That means the deficit was 120 crore cubic feet.
In the beginning of the first term of the present government, the daily gas production increased to 270 crore cubic feet. But, the long-term development plan, especially the stagnation in oil and gas exploration at sea, has now come down to 2.4 billion cubic feet.
Last week, 242 crore cubic feet of gas was found from the country’s gas fields. At present, 240 crore cubic feet of gas is being met daily from the country’s gas fields.
According to a recent report by the Department of Energy, daily gas production could fall to 2.3 billion cubic feet this year. If no large gas field is discovered, gas production from the country’s fields could be reduced by 18.4 crore cubic feet per day in 2022-23.
In 2023-24, the daily production may decrease by 43.5 crore cubic feet. Most of Chevron’s gas fields could be shut down at this time. As an alternative, the government took steps to increase LNG imports. LNG is being imported from Qatar and Oman under long-term agreements. Petrobangla is buying gas from Qatar’s Ras Lafan Liquefied Natural Gas Company under a 15-year contract.
After the agreement in September 2017, gas supply started from April 24 in 2018. Ras Gas has supplied LNG to 113 ships till July 31. Of them, 11 ships have arrived in 2018, 43 in 2019, 40 in 2020 and 19 till July this year. Ras Gas plans have to supply LNG to 21 more ships this year.
Meanwhile, the government is determined to keep power generation normal despite the gas crisis.Due to this, gas supply to CNG pump stations has been reduced to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity.On September 15, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources decided to close CNG filling stations across the country for four hours from 6:00 pm, effective from last Sunday.
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