Transforming local petrol to octane project limping for 9yrs

Staff Correspondent

4 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The project to turn locally produced petrol at Rashidpur plant to octane and LPG has been limping for years resulting in the scheme’s cost hike by more than three times due to snail’s pace of work. 

It was the picture of ‘Establishing Catalytic Reforming Unit (CRU) with 3,000 barrels per day capacity to transform petrol to octane at Rashidpur’ project in Sylhet.

The scheme was supposed to be complete in three years by 2015 when it was first approved in March 2012 at an estimated cost Tk 1.52 billion.

The cost went up to nearly Tk 5 billion after two project revisions while it saw four time extensions, including two extensions without cost hike.

However, the project has not completed yet by its last deadline of June 2021, according to minutes of the project’s steering committee’s meeting that was held recently with Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Md Anisur Rahman.  

It has so far saw nearly Tk 4.11 billion financial progress, which is 82.3 percent of the total estimated cost. Meanwhile, progress of the project’s public works and procurement were found to be 99.8 percent and 99.9 percent respectively, protect officials informed.

The planning approved the first revision proposal hiking the cost to Tk 3.54 billion and time up to 2017. Later, it also approved the second revision proposal to raise the cost Tk 4.98 billion and duration to 2019.

Also, project time was increased two times to June 2021 without any rise in project cost as it was not likely to end by their earlier deadlines.

While speaking about the problem, the project director told the meeting the project cost had been estimated considering Tk 79 Taka-US dollar exchange rate whereas the rate has now gone up to Tk 85.

As a result, Tk 215.7 more money has to be paid to the contractor because of the hike in the exchange rate. On the other hand, the latest catalytic reforming technology is being used in the project, the project director argued.

Under the technology, the catalyst will help break the existing hydrocarbon chain of petrol to turn it to octane and LPG.

The process of importing some spare parts is now underway, while pipe fit-up, pipe welding, radiography, post weld heat treatment, equipment erection and still structure construction, construction of two LPG tank construction, hydro test, box up reinstalling and testing have been fully complete so far.

About the progress of plant operation, project officials informed that EPC contractor’s commissioning started from March 18 this year after solving French technical experts’ punch list. Reactor dry out, catalyst loading and leak test and some other important operation work have ended also.