BPC’s ballooning operations call for augmented manpower

A lack of requisite manpower is likely to hamper the scope of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s operations, that have grown exponentially without a corresponding expansion in the government-mandated workforce for over four decades.

According to official sources in the BPC, the number of staff on the state hydrocarbon agency’s books kept decreasing over time and now only 131 people are directly employed by it against the government-mandated posts of 178. A new organogram would seek to at least double that number.

“The manpower shortage really creates big impediments in operation and implementation of different projects sometimes,” said BPC Member (operation & planning) Syed Mehedi Hasan.

He said that the BPC has been trying to overcome the problem by initiating a move to restructure its organogram with the approval of the government.

The BPC was established in 1976 by an ordinance and started its journey the following year with a responsibility to “supervise, co-ordinate and control of (sic) all the activities relating to import, store, marketing, distribution of petroleum products in the country and also to develop and establish infrastructure facilities to deal with petroleum products.”

Having 7 commercial subsidiaries under its umbrella, the BPC has been working as principal organisation under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD).

These seven organisations are Eastern Refinery Limited, Padma Oil Company Limited, Jamuna Oil Company Limited, Meghna Petroleum Limited, LP Gas Limited, Eastern Lubricants Blending, and Standard Asiatic Oil Company Limited.

Recently the government undertook a number of new mega projects which ultimately put the onus on the BPC to pull through by expanding its area of operations to include import of bulk LPG (and other petroleum products) to cater to the growing demand fuelled by such projects.

At present, the officials said, BPC is busy implementing a total of 9 projects, of which the major ones are Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) with double pipeline; Jet A-1 Pipeline from Pitolgonj (Near Kanchan Bridge) to Kurmitola Aviation Depot (KAD) including pumping facilities; Fuel oil transportation in the pipeline from Chittagong to Dhaka; India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project (necessary land acquisition and order and develop other ancillary facilities) and the Installation of Custody Transfer Flow Meter at ERL Tank firm.

FEED Services for the Installation of ERL Unit-2 and Project Management & Consultancy Services for the Installation of ERL Unit-2 are also included in the BPC project list.

BPC at the same time is also implementing some civil construction projects for its own purposes and for its subsidiaries, including the head office building of Padma Oil Company Ltd, the 20-storied Jamuna Office Building, known as Jamuna Bhaban, at Kawran Bazar, Dhaka (2nd Phase), and the 19-storied Meghna Office Bhaban with 3 basement floors at Agrabad commercial area in Chittagong, according to a top BPC official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

There are also some upcoming projects which are now at different stages of approval including Installation of ERL Unit-2, Construction of BPC Head Office Building at Chattagram, Terminal Automation of marketing companies of BPC, and Construction of Import based LPG Terminal at Matarbari, Moheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, he mentioned.

Officials at BPC say once these projects are implemented, the breadth of the organisation’s operational activities will widen significantly, which would create a requirement for both technical and non-technical manpower.

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“Sensing this urgency, we have been trying to expand our existing organogram to accommodate a setup for 380 employees (from the current 131),” said Syed Mehedi Hasan, director (planning and operation) of the BPC.

In this case, some new departments—like Law, Public Relations and Estate— are being proposed to be added to the existing ones: Marketing, Distribution, Operationa, Accounts, Finance, Audit, and Common Service.

Justifying the need for additional manpower to cope with the future scope of its activities, former BPC chairman Muktadir Ali suggested that the organisation should prioritize the recruitment of technical workforce to strengthen its new operation areas like the SPM project, LPG import and operation of its deep sea terminal, and also Eastern Refinery or ERL’s new production unit.

“Activities of law or PR departments can be operated through outsourcing, but it is impossible to engage in new technology-based business without new technical manpower,” he said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh