Load-shedding rises as gas supply declines

A man working in candlelight during load-shedding in Siddik Bazar area of DhakaProthom Alo file photo

The supply of liquefied natural gas has been low for over one and a half months due to the closure of one of the two terminals. Amid this, a pipeline leaked in an accident Tuesday night further lessening the supply of LNG.

Meanwhile, the industries, domestic and power sector is suffering due to the gas crisis. Power generation has stopped in several power plants resulting in a rise of load-shedding across the country on Wednesday.

The daily demand of gas in the country now stands at 3.8 billion cubic feet. However, only 3 billion cubic feet of gas is provided to tackle the pressure. The two floating terminals in Cox’s Bazar’s Maheshkhali provide 1.1 billion cubic feet of LNG daily, which dwindled to only 250 million cubic feet. The daily supply has dwindled to some 2.25 billion cubic feet as a result of this.

Petrobangla sources say the terminal operated by the Summit Group was closed down due to the damages it sustained during cyclone Remal on 27 May. The overall daily supply of LNG declined by 500 million cubic feet after the incident.

The terminal is likely to resume operations by the middle of this month. Meanwhile, the Anwara-Fouzdarhat pipeline was leaked by the workers of a contracting agency while digging up the soil for examination in the Anwara area of Chattogram. It stopped LNG supply through pipelines. The engineers of the Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (GTCL) are trying to repair it.

Petrobangla director (operations and mines) Md Kamruzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo, “Gas supply has declined due to a flaw in the pipeline. Although we are not sure, it could take two to three days to repair the pipeline.”

Meanwhile, the residents of Dhaka and other cities of the country are suffering due to the gas crisis. Already there was a decline in production at several industries due to the gas crisis. Now it has become even more difficult to run the factories. A total of 6,000 MW power was being generated using gas, which dwindled to below 4000 MW yesterday. As a result, the people outside Dhaka had to suffer a few hours of load shedding.

Sources in the Power Division, PDB and PGCB say the country has a power generation capacity of 26,000 MW daily. The maximum demand of power at 3:00 pm Wednesday was 14,300 MW. However, a little more than 12,000 MW was generated.

As a result, the authorities have to enforce more than 2000 MW of power outages. Load shedding has become more frequent from Tuesday night. It became more frequent after 12:00 pm yesterday.

PDB member (generation) Khandaker Mokammel Hossain told Prothom Alo, “There is no lack from PDB’s end. Several power plants had to be closed down due to technical complications. The deficit due to this is being compensated through load-shedding. However, power generation has been the highest from oil-fired power plants.”