Cox’s Bazar Turning To A Power & Energy Hub: Saleque Sufi


Published on February 18, 2018
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Blessed with excellent gifts of nature Cox’s Bazar is developing into a city of joy for the people of South and South East Asia. Its excellent geographical location having the longest flat sandy sea beach in the world, huge prospects of untapped maritime resources, excellent prospect of construction of fuel import infrastructures and power generation plants, export processing industrial zones present unique opportunities for this green and blue city to be developed into a major economic hub and linkage between South and South Asia . Cox’s Bazar is already the tourism hub of Bangladesh.

The government of Bangladesh has adopted several mega projects many of which have already taken off and more are in the preparatory stages. The ongoing and planned power and Energy Hub is turning the attractive tourist destination Cox’s Bazar into an Energy and Power Hub. The unique geographical location having the longest flat sandy sea beach in the world and possessing the enchanting coral island St Martin attracts tourists from all over the world. The air, road and railway communication to and from the city are being further developed. Recently a marine drive along the unbroken coast has been opened. The completion of Karnaphully river tunnel and four-lane highway linking Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar would make movement much more comfortable.

Under construction of several power and energy megaprojects have attracted huge investment has added new dimensions. When completed the mega projects would turn Cox’s Bazar not only a power and energy hub of Bangladesh, it would turn into a development corridor land linkage of South Asia with South East Asia. These will create huge job opportunities for not only the local populations but also for the rest of Bangladesh.

Political leaders, professionals and media group assembling in Cox’s Bazar recently had intensive interaction exchanged views and opinions in a daylong workshop Organized jointly by Cox’s Bazar Electronic Media Journalist Association and Kingston Institute of Technology. The keynote speech was delivered by Australia living Bangladeshi International Energy Consultant Khondkar Abdus Saleque on economic and social impacts of mega projects. Les Richrads, owner of Australian International Company HAWK Measurement Services. Mollah Amzad Hossain Editor Energy & Power Magazine and Mathew Cook an Expert on Smart Sensing of Energy and Power infrastructure also discussed the various aspects of smart city development and energy projects. Ashequllah Rafique Honorable Member Of The Parliament graced the occasion as Chief Guest. President Of Electronic Media Association Cox’s Bazar presided over the event. The event was presided over by .Dr. MA Islam Sajeeb anchored and moderated the program. Over 100 media journalists from all over the Cox’s Bazar participated in the work shop and exchanged opinions with the experts. The experts including three Australians earlier visited the ongoing mega projects development works at Matabari and Maheskhali and discussed with Project officials about project development and future plan. The works of Coal Port and 1200 MW imported coal fired power pant construction appeared to have achieved significant progress. The construction activities of two FSRUs of LNG are also at advanced stage. The remote islands are set for turning into busy bustling energy destination soon.

Coal Port and Coal Transfer Terminal:

Coal Power Generation Company Limited under JICA finance is now advancing with the works of coal port construction at Matarbari. The 240 meter wide 18.6 meter deep feeder canal construction connecting with the deep sea South of Matabari would be ready by end 2018 and a coal port of capacity 4 Mt /year would be ready by 2020 . This port would be eventually converted to a 30 Mt / year capacity coal transfer terminal by 2041 . Coals required for all planned and under construction power plants in Matarbari, Maheshkhali, Pekua Region would be conveyed from this terminal. The port and coal transfer terminal would be operated by private company.

Coal Fired Power Plants:

About 12 large imported coal fired ultra Super Critical Technology using Coal Fired Power Plants would be constructed in the greater Cox’s Bazar Region with a total capacity of about 15,620 MW would be built in greater Cox’s Bazar Region Only. Works have already started for construction of Power Transmission facilities for evacuation of this power to national grid. Few questions about probable environmental impacts arising out from coal port and coal power plants. But these uniformed debates have no basis as in many places of the world coal ports are in existence in very close proximity to reserve forests and even world heritage . Gladstone , in Queensland near Great Barrier Reef Is an example where two large coal terminals export the majority of Australian coal. It also have three LNG processing plants and a large subcritical power plant . There has been no credible evidence of any adverse impacts on environment recorded so far . Moreover, all the Cox’s Bazar Coal fired power plants would import high heating value , low sulfur and low ash containing coal and adopt ultra super critical technology.

LNG Import Infrastructures :

4 FSRU and 3 Land based LNG terminals are at various stages of construction in greater Cox’s Bazar for importing 5000 MMCFD LNG by 2025 . These are being constructed for meeting the present and emerging gas demand in the backdrop of the depleting scenario of country’s own gas reserve.

Type Operator Country Location Cap
FSRU Excellerate USA Moheshkhali 500
FSRU Summit Bangladesh Mohsehkhali 500
FSRU HSMPL Bangladesh Kutubdia 500
Land HQC China Moheshkhali 1000
Land Petronet India Kutubdia 1000
Land Reliance India Kutubdia 500
Land Semcorp Singapore Moheshkhali 1000

Construction activities were visible of the FSRUs of Excellerate and Summit Group. It is expected that FSRU would bring the first LNG to Bangladesh gas grid by the middle of 2018 and Summit by the end of 2019. LNG delivery through Summit FSRU would be delayed for no availability of LNG evacuation facility downstream of FSRU.

LNG Import :

Petrobangla has signed a contract with Qatar and inked MOU with Pertamina, Indonesia for import of LNG. Talks with few other countries and companies including Switzerland are also advancing for LNG import. RPGCL, the company designated for managing LNG import has also shortlisted several companies for spot market supply of LNG.

LNG Evacuation Facilities: In anticipation of LNG terminals delivering natural gas Petrobangla Company GTCL has taken major initiatives for constructing few gas transmission pipelines and spur lines for evacuating the gas to the national gas grid. 90 Kilometer 30 inches diameter Moheshkhali Anowara gas transmission and terminal stations are now ready for transporting the first ever 500 MMCFD LNG expected to be available from end April 2018. The Anowara – Chittagong City Ring Mail spur line is also constructed. The pipelines linking Anowara CGS with CUFL, KAFCO and Shikhalbaha Power Stations are also being constructed. The works of three more pipelines – Maheshkhali –Anowara 42 inches OD 90 KM loop line, 42 inches OD 28 KM Anowara –Faujdarhat Pipeline and Faujdarhat –Feni –Bakhrabad Pipeline are also at the advanced stage.It is expected that by the middle of 2019 GTCL will be in a position for evacuating 3500-4000 MMCFD LNG scheduled for import by 2025.

Cox’s Bazar Need Meeting Of Minds Of All Stake Holders:

There is no semblance of doubt that successful implementation of planned energy & Power Projects will bring immense benefit for Cox’s Bazar and Bangladesh. Matarbari Maheshkhali are the ideal axis for fuel import infrastructure. There are some preconceived concerns about environmental impacts for import of environment polluting coal and coal-fired power plants. The Coal port and Coal transfer terminal are being constructed adopting world-class environment impacts management technologies. All coal power plants would use high heating value, low sulfur and low ash coal and adopt the most efficient Ultra Super Critical power generation technology along with all additional facilities for emissions control. However, one suggestion about not crowding Matarbari area with unnecessary LNG based power plants merits considerations. LNG based power plants can be constructed anywhere along the national gas grid and not necessarily at Matarbari.

The Energy and Power mega projects during construction and during commercial operation would create huge employment and business opportunities. Three planned exclusive economic zones would also create opportunities . For all these sustained favorable law and order situation and lasting peace of the region would be essential . Hope the ongoing Rohingya Crisis would also soon be effectively managed.