LPG terminal project at Matarbari to get consultant

Finally, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has moved to appoint a consultant for its proposed LPG terminal project at under-construction Matarbari Deep Sea Port.

State-owned BPC recently forwarded a letter to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division proposing to assign the Power Cell to appoint a consultant for the LPG terminal project, said BPC Director (Planning and Operation) Syed Mehedi Hasan.

The consultant will do feasibility study and supervision work of the LPG terminal project, he added.

Industry insiders welcomed the move but said it would have been better if any entity from energy sector like Petrobangla or Rupantarito Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL) would have been given the task who experience to deal with energy related matter.

“Power Cell is experienced in dealing with electricity related matter while it has no experience in dealing with liquid fuel or petroleum related matter,” said Azam Chowdhury, president of LPG Operators Association of Bangladesh (LOAB) while speaking a webinar on Sunday.

Matarbari LNG Terminal to reduce cost

The move for LPG terminal was initiated against the backdrop of growing demand for liquefied gas across the country.

At present, the country consumes about 1 million MT of LPG annually. The figure was 47,000 MT in 2009, and projected to reach 2.5 million MT by 2025, industry insiders told UNB.

LPG businessmen currently import liquified gas through small- and medium-sized vessels from Singapore or other nearest deep-sea ports where large vessels are anchored.

Once the Matarbari deep sea port becomes operational, large vessels will be able to dock there, reducing their cost by USD 35-40 per MT, according to BPC officials.

“That’s why the implementation of the third terminal for LPG is very important as import of such petroleum gas is growing by 10-14 percent per annum against the backdrop of increasing consumption needs,” said a BPC official, on condition of anonymity.

BPC has already initiated a move to conduct a feasibility study for the LPG terminal project. “We’re ready to invite bids seeking expression of Interest (EoI) from international companies for engaging a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for the project and submit a report,” said the official.

3 int’l consortiums interested

Sources said that three international consortiums, led by three Japanese companies, have already shown interest and submitted separate proposals to BPC and also to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division.

One consortium is led by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co Ltd, in which Korean company SK Gas and local East Coast Group are also collaborating, while the other two consortiums are led by Japanese company Marubeni Corporation and the other led by Sumitomo Corporation.

Netherlands-based Vitol Energy is part of the Marubeni-led consortium while Chungko Electric Power Co Inc is the partner of Sumitomo Corporation.

Mitsui Group has been one of the largest business groups in Japan having worldwide businesses in energy and infrastructure, while SK Group is the third largest conglomerate in South Korea owning and operating deep sea LPG terminals and big LPG carriers like VLGCs.

The East Cast Group has 35 years of experience in the downstream petroleum sector, including LPG in Bangladesh.

The sources said that Marubeni and Sumitomo have investments in Bangladesh’s power sector, while the Netherlands-based LPG trading company Vitol has been engaged in bulk LPG supply to Bangladesh for the past 3-4 years.

PMO seeks evaluation report

Meanwhile, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has forwarded the three proposals of the consortiums to the Prime Minister’s Office, seeking further directive on behalf of BPC.

However, instead of taking any decision, the PMO has asked BPC to evaluate their proposals and send the evaluation report on the basis of the interested firms’ experience in the field, sources said, adding that BPC may take some days to do the job “as there is no evaluation criteria at present in this regard”.

“We’ve to set some criteria to evaluate their proposals and then only, we’ll be able to evaluate them,” said a top BPC official, preferring anonymity.

Source: United News of Bangladesh