No gas supply in Chattogram

A woman cooks at a mud stove on the roof of her house in Kattali in Chattogram city on 19 January 2024.Jewel Shil

Gas supply remained halted in Chattogram since Friday morning without any prior notice by the gas distribution company, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL), leaving thousands of unprepared consumers across the port city in a desperate situation.

People rushed to restaurants to buy foods found many of the eateries could not serve the customers due to disruption in gas supply. Residents were also seen cooking foods by burning woods or using electric fireplace.

Disruption in gas supply also led to suspension in operation of gas filing stations across, resulting in thin movement of CNG-run auto-rickshaw across the port city.

KGDCL general manager Aminur Rahman confirmed Prothom Alo about the halt in gas supply.

Photo shows a line of CNG-run auto-rickshaws at a filling station in City Gate area in Chattogram city on 19 January 2024.
Jewel Shil

He said imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) is supplied in Chattogram and imported LNG is converted at two floating terminals at Moheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar. One of the floating terminals owned by US company Excelerate Energy has remained closed since 1 November 2023. The terminal was scheduled to resume operation on Thursday but it could not go into operation as planned.

Besides, the low back pressure also disrupted gas supply from another terminal, which Summit LNG owns. As a result, gas supply in Chattogram remains suspended, he added.

Aminur Rahman further said gas supply is unlikely on Friday since Summit LNG’s terminal is being prepared for maintenance, and it is still uncertain when situation will return to normal.

Consumers suffers

The gas crisis also caused miseries to residents in the port city. Adnan Mannan, a professor at the University of Chittagong, lives in the city. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said no food is being prepared due to this gas crisis.

Ridwanul Haque, from in the city’s Momenbag area, told Prothom Alo he could not prepare breakfast at home due to the gas crisis. He went to a nearby restaurant but there was also no food at there. He has been starving since the morning, he added.

Salma Begum, from Bahaddarhat, vented anger at the situation saying they have been suffering from acute gas crisis for the past three months, and no one has taken care of it.

Ten people from Hamzarbagh, Momenbagh, Hillview, Askar Dighirpar, Enayetbazar, Lovelane, Andaerkilla informed Prothom Alo that they could not buy foods at restaurants and some of them used mud stoves while some purchased gas cylinders.

Movement of CNG-run vehicles was also thin on the city streets, with CNG-run auto-rickshaws being hardly seen.

Photo shows a “no gas” sign at a filling station in Colonel Haat area in Chattogram city on 19 January 2024.
Jewel Shil

Murad Parvez, from Muradpur, drives a CNG-run auto-rickshaw. He said he somehow managed to fill his vehicle’s cylinder on Thursday after waiting in queue for three hours, and he may ply the auto-rickshaw till Friday afternoon.

Sources said there are 601,914 subscribers of KGDCL in Chattogram with a demand of 325 million cft (cubic feet). A total of 597,561 were household connections while the reaming connections are in industry and other sectors. In regular time, 280-300 million cft of gas was supplied in Chattogram daily, but supply has dropped to more or less 100 million cft of gas since 1 November last year.

KGDCL officials said resumption of the US company-owned terminal will not resolve the crisis as the Summit’s terminal will be up for maintenance. Gas supply likely to be normal once two terminals go on operation simultaneously since both terminals supplied 850 million cft of gas to the national grid.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in a press note on Friday afternoon said the gas supply in Chattogram remains suspended due to technical glitch at a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) of an LNG terminal in Maheshkhali, Chattogram.

It further stated that the ministry has been working to repair the glitch very fast, putting due importance to the situation.

The gas pressure is low in other areas of the country due to the cold, the press note added.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Petrobangla and the respective companies have been monitoring the situation continuously. The production of local gas and its supply remains unhampered.

The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources also regretted the temporary sufferings of the consumers.