The government has planned to build an 800-megawatt (MW) gas-based power plant at Rupsha in Khulna despite uncertainty over the supply of natural gas, officials said on Thursday.
Power Division officials said they have a plan to start the construction of the proposed power plant early this year. The Tk 88.16-billion power plant project is now awaiting approval of the Planning Commission (PC).
The state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) has proposed to build the plant, depending on the availability of imported LNG, to be supplied to the local gas transmission line, a senior Power Division official said.
The proposed 800-MW plant will require 125 million cubic feet of gas for generating power a day.
According to the proposal, the LNG will be gasified through a proposed Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) at Maheshkhali or at Mongla or in Patuakhali.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assured of providing US$600 million funds for the power plant project and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has assured $200 million.
Meanwhile, NWPGCL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) A M Khurshedul Alam said they are yet to be certain about the LNG supply from India, but are hopeful of getting the supply from Petrobangla when the plant will be ready in 2021.
Earlier, India's H-Energy, GAIL and Adani had shown interest to supply required LNG to the power plant.
The NWPGCL CEO also said since there is uncertainty over import LNG from India, they have requested Petrobangla to supply gas to the plant.
Petrobangla has assured them that after LNG is available from Maheshkhali FSRU, it will be able to supply gas to the proposed 800-MW plant, he added.
Meanwhile, PC has raised question about the power plant project without getting confirmation about the supply of LNG or gas to the plant.
PC said the setting up of FSRU at Mongla or in Patuakhali is still under the government's consideration.
A senior official said: "NWPGCL has failed to submit any confirmation regarding LNG supply source for the proposed power plant at Rupsha. So, we've asked them to clarify the availability of fuel for the plant, which is planned to be ready in 2021."
Besides, there is no project in the country to lay pipeline for supplying gas to the power plant as well as to set up cross-border pipeline for importing gas from India, he added.
When asked about the LNG import plan from India, Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md. Faizullah said they have not received any confirmation on import of LNG from India.
"We have a plan to import LNG from India. But it is yet to be confirmed."
Mr Faizullah, however, said they would be able to supply gas to the proposed 800-MW plant in Khulna based on availability of gas in the country.
He also said they are working to set up a FSRU at Moheshkhali Island.
"We will import LNG from abroad. Then we will gasify it through the FSRU and supply to the national grid from later this year," he added.
Bangladesh expects to start LNG import from early 2018 through the country's first FSRU, developed by the US-based Excelerate Energy near Moheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal.
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