Thursday, 28 October, 2021

220MW Bhola plant project may face delay again

Commercial operation of 220/212MW duel fuel combined cycle plant may be delayed again as the Indian contractor has sought to activate the “force majeure” provisions after the pandemic situation in Bangladesh worsened.

Nutan Bidut (Bangladesh) Ltd, a sister concern of Shapoorji Pallonji Group of India, sought to activate the “force majeure” provisions on March 23, reliable sources confirmed.

In the “force majeure” notice sent to Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) on March 23, it said, “Fears of a new COVID-19 wave are gaining ground in Bangladesh as infections surged to a nearly three-month high on March 14, 2021.”

However, BPDB sources said the plant was due to launch required commercial operation on December 28, 2019.

“I think they have issued the force majeure event for avoiding the payment of compensation due to delay of implementation of the power project,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the plant was scheduled to be completed even before the start of the pandemic.

Another official of the Power Division said, “Most of the power projects in private sector are running smoothly taking precautionary measures against coronavirus.”

Defending their stance, Nutan Bidut (Bangladesh) Ltd said Bangladesh detected of the UK variant and South African variant of coronavirus cases.

On February 21, a steady fall in the positive rate had reached 2.23 percent, which spiked to 9.48 percent on March 15, a fourfold rise, it said.

It also said the UK had already imposed a strict lockdown to curb the new wave of COVID-19 cases.

“Our offshore equipment supply contractor ‘Global Infra FZCO’ continuously issued notice of continuation of force majeure to us due to various restrictions imposed by the governments of UAE, where their office is located,” the company told BPDB.

“The above mentioned events are beyond our control and impacting the project commissioning,” it said.

“We are entitled to an extension of the scheduled commercial operations date (COD) and compensation of additional cost incurred due to force majeure event under various clauses of power purchase agreement (PPA) and implementation agreement (IA),” the company said.

The BPDB is now implementing 13 power projects through private sector having a combined capacity to generate 2853MW of electricity. Any sponsor has yet to seek force majeure event taking advantage of the 2nd wave of corona outbreak.