Bangladesh, April 17 -- The government's move to construct the country's first LNG import terminal would be delayed further, as the state-owned Petrobangla has again extended bid submission deadline for the terminal, a top official said.
"We have extended the bid submission deadline by 15 days following requests from the bidders," Petrobangla Chairman Dr Hussain Monsur told the FE Monday.
He said the deadline to submit final bid for building the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Moheshkhali in the Bay of Bengal has been extended to April 30.
The initial January 31 deadline was earlier extended once to April 15 due to requests from the four firms, short-listed to build the floating LNG terminal.
Bermuda-based Golar LNG Energy, a joint venture of the US-based Astra Oil and Excelerate Energy, South Korea's Samsung C&T Corporation, and India's Hiranandani Electricity are the qualified short-listed firms.
The government has planned to build the terminal with a capacity to handle 5.0 million tonnes of LNG per year, re-gasification capacity of at least 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), and berthing and mooring facilities for LNG ships with a capacity of 138,000-260,000 cubic metres.
Separately, the state-owned Gas Transmission Company Limited has moved to lay a 91 km-long (56.54 mile) Moheshkhali-Anowara gas transmission pipeline to carry re-gasified LNG from the proposed terminal to shore.
Petrobangla initially set a target to build the terminal by 2012. But it would take more time due to the initial delays, Monsur said.
The government in January 2011 signed a memorandum of understanding to import 4.0 million tonnes of LNG per year from Qatar Petroleum.
Bangladesh's private sector has also been recently allowed to import LNG under the newly formulated import policy. The country is now facing severe gas shortage with gas output hovering around 2,050 mmcfd against the demand of over 2,500 mmcfd.
The re-gasified gas is planned to be supplied from the terminal to the port-city where the supply shortfall is the most acute.
Gas transmission constraints are hampering transportation of natural gas from the gas-rich north-eastern region to the south-eastern port-city, where hundreds of industries have remained shut and many more have squeezed their operation due to gas supply shortage.
Until the terminal is built, limited capacity of the existing pipelines to take gas to the south-eastern Chittagong from the north-eastern Sylhet region will be used, said a Petrobangla official.
Sharp decline in output from Bangladesh's sole offshore gas-field Sangu, located near Chittagong seashore, has prompted the move to build an LNG terminal near the port-city, he said.
Australia's Santos-operated Sangu's output declined to as low as 8.0 mmcfd recently, down from 220 mmcfd of several years ago. Industry sources forecast that Sangu will be depleted anytime soon.
Besides, Bangladesh will require LNG to operate its planned new LNG-based power plants.
The state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will have an 850-mw LNG-fed power plant, built by a sponsor on a build-own-operate basis, a senior BPDB official said.
Australia-based Poten & Partners is providing Bangladesh with consultancy services for carrying out the country's first-ever import of LNG.
The firm is assisting Petrobangla for execution of the international tender for building the LNG terminal. Poten & Partners will also provide support to Petrobangla for LNG transmission and marketing in Bangladesh. Published by HT Syndication with permission from The Financial Express.
Copyright 2012 The Financial Express. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published April 17, 2012, in The Financial Express.)