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Nazmul Likhon
In the context that the imported LNG is likely to be added to the national grid from the current month, it has not been possible yet to declare that the state-run Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited is free from illegal connections, sources in the energy division said.
Even though the energy division instructed the gas distribution company to announce itself completely free from illegal gas connections within March 1, 2018, Titas failed to comply with it.
In this regard, when Md Mostafa Kamal, managing director (additional charge) of Titas, was tried to contact over cell phone for his comments he could not be reached.
Titas deputy general manager (vigilance) Engineer Md Saiful Islam Chowdhury told Bangladesh Post, “It is an ongoing process of disconnecting illegal gas connections. Illegal connections are being snapped regularly. Besides, new illegal connections are also rising at the same time.” “So it is not possible to stop [illegal gas connections] permanently,” Saiful Islam said.
Energy expert Professor Badrul Imam said Titas’ claim as such sounds absurd.
Professor Imam told Bangladesh Post that there is gas crisis in the country. On the other hand demand for gas is also increasing. Many people are not getting gas connections even after submitting the charges. But a few people are obtaining illegal connections through dishonest means. In this way, valuable gas is being stolen day after day, but Titas is doing nothing. It must be stopped.
The professor said the average cost per unit of domestic gas is Tk 7.34, but it will be Tk 13 per unit in case for imported gas. If Titas does not snap all illegal gas connections the illegal users will use high-priced gas free of cost. It will be harmful for the national economy.
At present, the total gas demand is more than 4200mmcf in the country. However, total gas production is about 2,700mmcf from 110 wells per day while 327mmcf is being supplied from imported LNG. As a result, daily gas deficit is about 1170mmcf.
According to the distribution companies, there is a deficit of around 270 million cubic feet of gas in the Chattogram region alone, which can be met with LNG. The remaining of LNG will be supplied in other parts of the country. Initiatives have been taken to construct Anwara-Faujdarhat conduction pipeline to take LNG to other parts of the country. The pipeline installation work was supposed to end in April this year, but was not possible due to various complications.
Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL) is working to build the LNG pipeline. GTCL has finished the Karnaphuli River crossing to bring LNG to the national grid. Now the work of pairing of two sides of pipeline hooks is in progress.
A GTCL official said “We hope the river crossing work will be fully completed by November 15. Then it will be possible to supply LNG on a full scale. This is expected to reduce the energy crisis.”
In 2010, the government took an initiative to import LNG to meet the country’s dire energy deficit. LNG supplies started on August 18 after a long eight-year effort.
After the start of LNG import, the government decided to reopen gas connections of the compressed industrial factories. As a result, the applications to gas distribution companies for gas connections are increasing. However, the government has taken steps to give about two thousand industrial gas connections, applied for earlier.