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Chinese firm building single mooring at Bay

FE Report | July 22, 2019 00:00:00

The newly-established China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd (CPP) is currently building the country's lone SPM system instead of the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB).

The CPP was established in 2017 following the restructuring of its predecessor, CPPB, said a senior official of state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).

He said the CPP is expected to complete the project titled, 'Installation of single point mooring (SPM) with double pipeline' with Chinese concessional loan of around US$554 million by 2020.

Of the total loan amount, China is set to provide $467.84 million as preferential buyers' credit and the remaining $82.5 million as soft loan.

Exim Bank of China would provide the money to be repaid within 20 years at an annual interest rate of 2.0 per cent with five years' grace period.

Once the SPM is built, the government is expected to save around Tk 10 billion a year by directly offloading imported petroleum products at its Chittagong refinery depot.

Currently, BPC cannot offload imported fuel oil at its Chittagong refinery depot directly.

Large tankers anchor in deep sea and smaller ships unload and bring the oil to storage facilities of the Eastern Refinery Ltd (ERL).

It takes up seven days to offload oil from tankers and the BPC often has to pay fines for the extra period.

After the installation of the SPM it will be possible to offload 120,000 tonnes of crude oil within 48 hours and 70,000 tonnes of diesel within 28 hours.

The SPM's capacity to offload oil annually will be 9.0 million tonnes.

The CPP would install the SPM system with double pipelines on Sonadia Island deep into the Bay of Bengal where large oil tankers will anchor.

Two 36-inch diameter and 16 km pipelines will be built to carry both crude and gasoil separately from the SPM to storage facility at Matarbari of Moheshkhali island in the Bay.

Some nine-kilometre (km) of the 36-inch diameter pipelines will be inside the Bay and the remaining seven km onshore.

Two 18-inch diameter 94 km pipelines will be built to carry both crude and gasoil separately from the storage facility of Matartbari to storage facility in Chittagong.

Some 64 km of the 18-inch diameter pipelines will be inside the Bay and the remaining 30 km onshore.

Three new 50,000 cubic metre capacity crude oil storage units and three new 30,000 cubic metre gasoil storage facilities will be built on Moheshkhali island.

A new pumping station will be built on the island to pump the fuel to shore.

The BPC's wholly-owned subsidiary ERL will implement the SPM project on behalf of the BPC.

The BPC currently pays $5.50 per tonne to small vessels owned by state-owned Bangladesh Shipping Corporation to ferry petroleum to shore from larger ocean-going vessels.

The SPM will save BPC around $8.0 per tonne by eliminating the vessel transfers of oil, a BPC official said.

Bangladesh annually imports around 6.0 million tonnes of crude and refined oil combined, of which around 1.3 million tonnes are crude oil and the remaining are refined petroleum products.

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