Partial supply of gas started after 24 hours from the floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, but the crisis did not end in the eastern part of the country. There was misery all day yesterday and Saturday.
Gas stoves are not lit in many areas. Blinking in some areas. And the queue of cars at the CNG filling station is longer than last Friday.
Disaster struck the eastern region last Thursday after the gas supply to the LNG terminal was stopped due to a technical fault around 10 pm. Last Friday at around 10:30 pm the supply started after fixing the fault at the terminal. Gas reaches the customer after two to three hours. But the pressure in the transmission line was very low.
Director (Operation and Mines) of Bangladesh Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources Corporation (Petrobangla). Kamruzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo that 340 million cubic feet of gas was received from US Accelerate Energy Terminal and Summit LNG Terminal in Maheshkhali yesterday afternoon. But 850 million cubic feet of gas is supplied from the two terminals during normal hours.
Sources of Petrobangla say that Summit terminal has supplied gas till 5 pm yesterday. Then start preparing to go into maintenance. 240 million cubic feet of gas was delivered from the US terminal after 7 pm.
Gas crisis in the eastern region includes Chittagong, Comilla, Noakhali, Feni and Lakshmipur districts of Bakhrabad under Karnaphuli Distribution Company (KGDCL). Apart from this, Narayanganj under Titus next to Dhaka is also in this crisis. These districts supply a major portion of LNG to the national grid as well.
Maheshkhali has two floating terminals for converting imported LNG and supplying it to the pipeline. Accelerate Energy is a US company. The other is Summit LNG Terminal. On November 1, the US Accelerate Energy terminal was moved into the deep sea for maintenance. The terminal was later commissioned after returning from maintenance last Thursday. But due to error after starting it stopped again. Then disaster struck.
Nowhere the stove was burning, somewhere flickering
Kazi Noor Jahan, a resident of Chateshwari area of Chittagong city, has been suffering ever since the gas crisis started last November. He is working as public relations officer of Chittagong WASA. He has to rush to the office in the morning. Kazi Noor Jahan told Prothom Alo that he is suffering greatly due to the gas crisis. There is no gas in the morning. Gas came on at around 10am yesterday after it went completely off last Friday. Could not cook due to low pressure. The gas went off again around 12 noon. So we had to manage the situation somehow by cooking in a clay oven.
Kazi Noor Jahan got gas for two hours, but Saurabh Debnath, a resident of Hemsen Lane area of the city, did not get any. The stove in his house was not lit. Saurabh told Prothom Alo at six in the evening yesterday that gas did not come to their house. So they also cooked in clay oven.
Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL), which is in charge of gas supply in Chittagong, supplies gas to the city, nine upazilas and Karnaphuli Paper Mill of Kaptai in Rangamati. There are 6 lakh 1 thousand 914 customer connections.
General Manager of KGDCL Aminur Rahman told Prothom Alo that gas was not available until 10 pm yesterday. Only 130 million cubic feet of gas has been found. But need 300 million cubic feet.
Outside Chittagong, customers are suffering from gas crisis in Narayanganj and Savar and Dhamrai areas near Dhaka. Crisis has been going on in these areas for several months. Housewife Yasmin Begum, a resident of Masdair area of Narayanganj city, told Prothom Alo that she has not been getting gas for four or five days. Having to cook in an electric oven. Didn’t get gas yesterday either.
Mamunar Rashid, Deputy General Manager of Titus Gas Company’s Narayanganj office, told Prothom Alo that there is no supply of gas according to demand. Because of this gas crisis. It is not yet known when the problem will be solved.
Low pressure at filling stations, shortage of vehicles
Yesterday at 12 noon, at the Four Star CNG refueling station in Kadamtali, Chittagong city, at least three hundred autorickshaws were standing in line across the road to take gas from that station. Md. Three drivers named Mofizur Rahman, Abdus Sattar and Rahim Uddin told Prothom Alo that the supply of gas started at around 11 am. But the pressure was very low.
The same scene was seen at the Fossil Filling Station of Sholashar in the city. Hundreds of autorickshaws, microbuses, private car drivers were waiting to get gas. Due to the gas crisis, there were less vehicles on the roads of Chittagong. Passengers complained that some auto-rickshaws were charging extra fare even though they were running.
According to KGDCL sources, there are 70 CNG filling stations in Chittagong. The demand of gas at these stations is 19 million cubic feet. 5 million cubic feet were found yesterday.
Meanwhile, there was no gas in the CNG-operated filling stations of Comilla and Feni under the Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company yesterday. Some had gas but the pressure was low. There are 40 CNG powered filling stations in Comilla district. Ali Mansoor Farooq, general secretary of Comilla district CNG filling station and owner of Riverview filling station, told Prothom Alo that the gas pressure at the filling station was low due to cold and thick fog since last 15 days. A glitch in the terminal caused further problems last Friday.
Daily gas demand in Comilla, Chandpur, Brahmanbaria, Noakhali, Feni and Laxmipur districts under Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited (BGDCL) is 550 million cubic feet. Not available yesterday as per demand.
There are 4 lakh 88 thousand 28 household gas connections in these districts. In addition, there are 91 CNG filling stations, 575 small and cottage industries, 1,563 hotels and restaurants, 81 captive power plants, 184 factories, a refinery and 14 power generation plants.
Gas-fired power plants are closed
Four power plants in Chittagong have been virtually shut down for two days due to non-availability of gas as per demand. This has led to load shedding in several areas including Baklia, Motherbari, Love Lane in the city even in the winter season. A resident of the city’s Love Lane area said that the electricity suddenly went off at around two o’clock in the afternoon. It comes after an hour.
According to the data of Power Development Board (PDB) and KGDCL, the four gas-fired power plants in Chittagong are Chittagong Power Plant in Raujan, Shikolbaha 225 MW Power Plant in Karnaphuli and Shikolbaha 150 MW Power Plant, Regent Power Plant in Sitakunda and United Power Plant in Chittagong City. The centers have a maximum generating capacity of 867 MW. For the last two days there was no power generation in these centers. At least 151 million cubic feet of gas is needed to keep the power plants running at full capacity.
The chief engineer of Chittagong region of PDB has confirmed that the power plant has stopped production due to lack of gas. Rezaul Karim.
“Alternatives should be kept”
Professor Sanaul Rabbi, Head of the Department of Petroleum and Mining Engineering, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology thinks that the crisis will not be completely resolved due to the closure of one terminal. He told Prothom Alo that Chittagong has become completely dependent on LNG. LNG is also being supplied to other districts in the eastern region. But the crisis would have been reduced if gas had been supplied to these districts by increasing the production through own exploration. Alternatives to prevent such calamities should be thought of now.
According to the prothomalo