Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Power import likely as gas crisis deepens

22 units of gas-fired plants have to stop power generation as the gas supplies fall sharply

Power import likely as gas crisis deepens

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Bangladesh is planning to import 200 megawatts of electricity from India as the power generation in gas-based plants significantly drops due to a dearth in natural gas supply.

A total of 22 gas-fired plants having combined capacity to generate 3546MW of electricity have been forced to stop production due to the gas supply crisis.

Official sources said the gas crisis would intensify during the dry season. A series of the gas-fired plants in Ashuganj, Ghorasal and Narayanganj have shut down as they are badly hit by the supply crunch.

Amid this continuous gas supply shortfall, the government is planning to import the 200MW of electricity from India to meet the local demand, said official sources

For this, the government will need to amend the existing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the PTC India Ltd.

The governmentdecided to import the electricity after considering the gas crisis and the cost of using alternative liquid fuels in power generation, said an official concerned.

“The demand of electricity will increase significantly during dry and irrigation season, which starts from February. The government will need to import electricity to meet the demand,” the official said.

According to the official figures, the current demand of the electricity is 9239MW which will rise by an additional 4000-5000 MWduring the dry season. The official said Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) earlier imported 200 MW of electricity from Meenakshi Energy Ltd (MEL) of India. But the company later failed to supply the electricity, according to the Power Division sources.

BPDB issued the Notice of Default to the PTC India Ltd as per the PPA signed between the two sides in April, 2021, sources said.

On August 4, 2021, the BPDB issued the Notice of Intent Termination against the default power supply.

On September 24, 2021, the PTC proposed to review the February, 2020 deal with Meenakshi Energy Ltd and proposed to supply electricity from Sembcorp Energy India Limited (SEIL) with subsidised commercial tariff, sources said.

The PTC proposed per unit tariff of 0.0722 to 0.0786 US cents, the insiders confirmed.

BPDB hopes the review proposal will save substantial foreign currency in importing the electricity.

“We are not getting the expected level of natural gas supply for electricity generation. For this, a number of gas-based power plants have to shut down,” BPDB chairman Balayet Hossian told the daily sun.

“The government is considering import of 200MW electricity from India as per the proposal of the Indian PTC,” he added.

Hossain said around 700mmcfd of gas supply is needed for the power plants to generate the electricity. 

Bangladesh may face a severe gas shortage in 2022 due to lack ofexploration of natural gas and increasing dependency on imports.

In FY 202-21, Bangladesh on average had a demand for 4,300 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) of the natural gas against a supply of 3,012 mmcfd—a deficit of 1,288 mmcfd, according to Petrobangla.

Now, the crisis intensified as locally produced gas come down to 2277mmcfd and imported gas also come down to 535mmcfd due to technical fault of private sector LNG supply by Summit. According to the BERC Annual‎‎ Report 2020-21, about‎‎ 46 per cent of the country’s energy comes from natural gas.  Bangladesh has 28.30 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) minable gas reserves and about 18 Tcf gas has been extracted so far.