LNG import fails to mitigate gas crisis
Industry Desk: The government has been importing expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) to mitigate the mounting gas crisis in different industrial sectors, but that has failed to solve the problem.
Recently, the gas crisis has become so acute that 25% of the local textile mills’ capacity remained unused for the last three months, causing them to lose $1.75 billion, said Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) on Saturday in a press briefing.
Sources at state-owned oil and gas company Petrobangla said the gas crisis in the industries was caused by a damage in a pipeline at floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) in Moheskhali and it will return to normal next month after repairs.
Even before the FSRU was damaged, the garment and textile industries and the power sector were suffering from a shortage of gas supply. Last September, the government directed the CNG stations to remain closed for four hours daily to meet the demand for gas at the industries.
Energy experts said the gas crisis cannot be solved by importing LNG. Only local production could solve this problem in a sustainable manner.
“Sustainable and uninterrupted gas supply to industries is not possible with LNG. Today’s situation has resulted from the wrong policies created by bureaucrats,” said Prof Dr M ShamsulAlam, an energy expert.
“To get rid of this situation, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division should be freed from bureaucratic control and the energy policy should be focused on cost effectiveness and competitiveness,” said DrShamsul, energy adviser to Consumers Association of Bangladesh.
To meet the rising demand for gas in different industries, the government set up two floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) in Moheskhali in 2018 and 2019 to import and supply LNG in the national gas grid.
Along with the local production, the two FSRUs used to supply 650 mmcf gas per day.
But on 18 November last year, one FSRU, owned and operated by Summit Group, stopped supplying LNG due to damage in their pipeline.
Due to the closure of the Summit FSRU, gas supply of around 250 mmcf has stopped in the national gas transmission line.
Consequently, gas supply to the industries also decreased as distribution companies were not getting enough gas.
Petrobangla Chairman Nazmul Ahsan told that, “Hopefully, the damage of the FSRU will be repaired by the first week of February and we will be able to resume supplying gas from there that month.”
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