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Diesel imports drop by 15.38pc in H1

Power plants are now using LNG

M Azizur Rahman | July 30, 2019 00:00:00

The country's diesel consumption is on the decline as diesel-fired power plants are using less-than-expected fuel after the start of LNG imports.

Loss of state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is also sliding with the fall in import of the expensive fuel, BPC director for operation Syed Mehdi Hasan told the FE on Monday.

Overall diesel imports fell by 15.38 per cent to 2.26 million tonnes in the first six months of the current year compared to that of the corresponding period of last year.

All the three dual-fuel power plants are now running on re-gasified LNG (liquefied natural gas) instead of diesel with the availability of RLNG.

Other diesel-fired power plants are also in operation with almost half of their capacity making room for 'less expensive' gas-fired power plants to run at full capacity, he said.

The diesel-fired power plants consumed around 500,005 tonnes of diesel during H1, 2018 but their consumption halved to around 265,615 tonnes during H1, 2019, said Mr Hasan.

State-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), the lone buyer of electricity from the producers, that purchases gasoil from the BPC, has revised downward further the diesel demand for power plants for July-December (H2) 2019 as well, he added.

Initially, BPDB had intended to purchase around 200,000 tonnes of diesel during H2, 2019 but due to lower consumption of diesel in power plants, it has revised downward its requirement by 50,000 tonnes of gasoil for H2, 2019, he added.

During H2, 2018 BPDB purchased around 300,000 tonnes of gasoil from the BPC, the official said, adding that BPC's loss is also on the wane with less consumption of diesel.

As per the current market price, the BPC counts around Tk 2.0 per litre in diesel sale as it imports the fuel at higher prices from the international market and sells it lower in the domestic market.

Diesel is consumed in different sectors including transports, power plants, industries, irrigation and other commercial users.

Other than power plants, gasoil consumption in other sectors is almost stable, said the BPC top official.

Currently, Bangladesh has some 60 operational oil-fired power plants out of total 131, according to statistics of state-run BPDB.

Of the total oil-fired power plants, 48 are furnace oil-fired and the remaining a dozen of plants are gasoil-fired.

All the remaining power plants are gas-fired excepting two coal-fired and one hydropower plant.

Three dual fuel power plants having the total electricity generation capacity of around 680 MW, which were running on only diesel due to lack of natural gas, now consuming RLNG alone, BPDB director for communications Saiful Hasan Chowdhury said on Monday.

All the three power plants- Meghnaghat 305 MW combined cycle power plant, or CCPP, Sikalbaha 225 MW CCPP and Sikalbaha 150 MW peaking gas turbine - are running on RLNG now, he added.

Bangladesh started importing LNG since April 24, with the arrival of US's Excelerte Energy's Excellence carrying 136,000 cubic metres of lean LNG from Qatar at Moheshkhali Island terminal.

State-run Petrobangla, however, started regular imports of LNG from Qatar's RasGas since September 9 after initiating successfully feeding of re-gasified LNG to consumers from August 18.

Currently, some 600 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of re-gasified LNG is being supplied to the national grid from two 3.75 million tonnes per year (Mtpa) capacity operational FSRUs.

The country's LNG import is expected to increase further on completion of laying down necessary pipelines to carry RLNG to end users.

The 90-km pipeline connecting Moheshkhali to Anwara, and the 181-km pipeline connecting Chattogram, Feni and Bakhrabad are still under construction, with an estimated completion date by December 2019, said a senior official of Energy and Mineral Resources Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Monday.

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