The government is going to increase supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to overcome the on- going gas crunch in the country. A quantity of 300 million cubic feet (mmcfd) more LNG will be added to the national grid from March, according to official source.
According to Energy and Mineral Resources Division, there is pressure for increased primary fuel supply for power generation as the demand for electricity will increase during the irrigation season and the holy month of Ramadan. The government wants to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the period. State-owned Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) is trying to meet the gas demand.
Against this backdrop, the government decided to import LNG in 2010 to meet the energy deficit, and started importing LNG in 2018. However, currently only 400 million cubic feet of LNG is being supplied per day.
An official of the RPGCL said, ‘‘LNG supply will increase from March. We expect it to be about 750 million cubic feet. A total of six cargoes of LNG will be bought under the long-term contracts and two others will be purchased from the spot market.’
According to the projection of the power division, the country’s highest electricity demand will be 14,500 megawatt (MW) during the summer. Supply of around 1550 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day is needed to generate sufficient power. Without supply of the required quantity of gas, it will be difficult to keep electricity generation normal.
At a recent meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury directed the non-stop electricity supply in the upcoming agricultural season.
He said the import of LNG from the spot market should be continued to keep the power generation in order.
"We have bought two lots of LNG from the spot market to keep our LNG imports normal. We hope to buy one more lot of LNG from the spot market. If at any time the supply of LNG increases, we will reduce the gas production. We have to look into all aspects of power generation, transmission and distribution,” Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said.
However, Bangladesh is facing a serious gas crisis. Currently, some 22 power plants having a total capacity of around 2800MW of electricity are shut down due to shortage of gas.
A senior official of the Power Cell said, due to the gas crisis last summer, ‘We could not run some gas-fired power plants, which could have generated 3000 MW electricity. This time the target has been set to generate 7,650 MW electricity from gas. Currently an average of 800 million cubic feet of gas is being supplied. The supply will need to be increased by another 750 million cubic feet. Besides, 4,570 MW of furnace oil, 750 MW of coal, 50 MW of renewable energy (hydro and solar) and 1,050 MW of electricity will be imported from India.
‘If the supply of 300 million cubic feet of gas increases for power generation next month, a maximum of 1,100 million cubic feet can be supplied. However, if gas is supplied to electricity by closing the fertilizer factories, gas can be supplied closer to the demand,’ he added.