National, Front Page

Direct fuel oil unloading soon

From mother vessel

Published : 12 Aug 2022 10:15 PM

The installation of single-point mooring (SPM) with a double pipeline, a major pipeline system to pump in imported fuel oil from ships in the deep sea, is likely to be complete soon, officials said.

“The construction of the single-point mooring is almost complete. Bangladesh is going to enter a new era of energy management,” said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.

State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) undertook the project in 2015 to save money and time in unloading fuel oil and it is being implemented by BPC subsidiary Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) at Moheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar. 

It is a deep-sea floating unloading facility being set up for quick, easy, safe and cost-effective unloading of imported oil directly from the ship through a subsea pipeline to ERL tanks.

Currently, fuel oil imported is unloaded from mother vessels in the deep sea of the Bay of Bengal by small vessels and then supplied to refinery tanks through pipelines. It takes 11 days to unload a one-lakh tonne oil-carrying ship.

 The state minister said the unloading of a one-lakh tonne oil-carrying ship will take only 48 hours after the launch of the SPM. “This will reduce ship congestion at Chattogram port and save Tk 800 crore a year on the head of fuel transportation cost besides increasing the oil reserve capacity of Bangladesh,” he added.  

 A project official told the Bangladesh Post that the project work could not be completed within the stipulated time due to various reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic and delay in the process of loan disbursement by Exim Bank of China. 

 “Now there is a lot of progress. We’re expecting to complete the work by this year. All efforts are being made for this,” he said requesting anonymity.

 BPC officials said BPC signed a contract with the Chinese state-run company China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPP) in 2015 for the implementation of the project.

 As per the deal, CPP was supposed to implement the project as EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) in the next 36 months from the signing of the agreement.

 The demand for fuel is increasing day by day in Bangladesh. ERL currently refines 1.5 million tonnes of crude petroleum annually. On completion of unit -2, its capacity will increase to 4.5 million tonnes.

 The SPM will have an annual unloading capacity of nine million tonnes. It will be able to unload 120,000 tonnes of crude oil in 48 hours and 70,000 tonnes of diesel in 24 hours.

 The single-point mooring is located on the west side of Maheshkhali Island where a 27-meter depth is available, which is sufficient for docking a large tanker of 120,000 DWT. 

 Unloading of crude oil and HSD (high-speed diesel) from single-point mooring will be done through two separate 36-inch pipelines (offshore and onshore) and will be stored in the storage tanks at Maheshkhali. Crude oil and HSD from there will be pumped into ERL through two separate 18-inch pipelines (offshore and onshore). 

BP officials said the two separate lines for crude oil and HSD will eliminate significant product loss due to contamination if transported through a single pipeline and ensure efficient and continuous transport of the designed quantity of each product along the entire transport chain. 

 The project will establish an SPM and pipeline end manifold, set up 220km pipelines, a tank farm and a pumping station at Maheshkhali, supervisory control and data acquisition system, as well as carry out land acquisition and offer compensation, expert services, and put in place fire-fighting systems and related facilities.

 BPC officials said despite the growing demand for oil in the country, the oil storage capacity has not increased much. As a result, even if the price of oil decreases in the world market, its benefits cannot be utilised. 

 The construction of storage along with the pipeline will also increase the oil storage capacity of the country, they said.