SPM project to gain momentum

Aiming at saving money and time, the implementation of the Single Point Mooring (SPM), a floating jetty anchored offshore to allow handling of liquid cargo, in Chittagong will start again soon, which remained stopped due to coronavirus outbreak. 

However, more than 52 percent work of the project with double pipe line has already been done, officials concerned said. 

The project was undertaken by the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to transport imported raw petroleum to state-owned Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) in Chittagong. It was one of the top priority projects of the Energy Division as the project will substantially save taka 1000 crore a year of fuel transportation cost along with time. There will be no need to use lighter vessels to transport the raw petroleum.

Project Director Md. Sharif Hasnat told The Bangladesh Post that it could not be completed on time due to various reasons including delay in the process of loan disbursement from Exim Bank of China. “Now there is a lot of progress. More than 52 percent work has been completed so far and we were expecting to complete 100 percent of the work by 2021. All effortsare being made for this”, he added.

‘The Chinese employees and workers who were supposed to come to Bangladesh for the project work have been stuck in their mainland following the outbreak of the deadly disease in December last year.  As a result, our work has been slowed down and we could not progress much as per our work plan. Now they are coming back. We are expecting the implementation work will start soon,’ he added.    

He noted that the construction of the undersea pipeline has almost done and work of the other components of the project including the construction of oil tanks are in progress. 

BPC officials said the project was originally taken up in 2012 and after long official process, BPC signed a contract with Chinese state-run company China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPP) on December 7, 2016 to implement the project by December 2019. 

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

The original cost of the project was Tk 4,935.96 crore. In the first revision, it was raised to Tk 5,426.25 crore. The second revision took it to Tk 6,568.26 crore. The new deadline is now June 30, 2022, which was set at December 2019 after the first revision of the tenure.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has called for speedy implementation of the project ahead of schedule. For this, if necessary, a lot of work has to be done together in parallel, he said.

He said, "The progress of ‘Installation of single point mooring with double pipeline’ project is not satisfactory. Sometimes project costs increase due to failure or incompetence of the project director. Why would the ministry take responsibility for this? 

The state minister said at a review meeting of development projects being implemented under BPC through virtually on October 8. He also directed to appoint concerned officers from the ministry to supervise the projects.

The project will establish an SPM and Pipe Line End Manifold, set up 220 km pipelines, a tank farm and a pumping station at Moheshkhali, a supervisory control and data acquisition system, as well as carry out land acquisition and offer compensation, expertise services, and put in place fire-fighting systems and related facilities.

 At present, crude/ refined fuel oil imported from abroad is unloaded from mother vessels in the deep sea of the Bay of Bengal by small vessels, for which time and money are needed, the amount of system loss is higher.

In this context, a deep sea floating unloading facility has been set up for quick, easy, safe and cost-effective unloading of imported oil directly from the ship through crude oil and from there through subsea pipeline directly to ERL’s tank for refined fuel oil.

ERL currently refines 1.5 million tonnes of crude petroleum annually. On completion of the unit -2, its capacity will increase to 4.5 million tonnes.

The SPM will have an annual unloading capacity of 9 million. It will be able to unload 120,000 metric tons of crude oil in 48 hours and 70,000 metric tons of diesel in 28 hours.

Officials said the SPM project will have supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) & Communication System and also includes construction of three crude oil tanks (each of net capacity 50,000 m³), three HSD tanks (each of net capacity 30,000 m³), main pumps, booster pumps and other pumps, installation of generator for power supply, housing facilities, administrative and other buildings, pigging system, custody metering system, security system and firefighting system.