Though Unique Meghnaghat Power Limited (UMPL) has completed 92 percent of the construction of its 585 MW gas-fired power plant and is getting ready to be addeds to the national grid by October, there is no certainty that it will get its requisite supply of gas to start operating.
The state's hydrocarbons agency Petrobangla, which had signed a gas supply agreement for the plant in July 2019, said until adequate gas is available it has no obligation to supply gas to the plant.
“We don’t have any obligation to ensure gas supply to the plant in this situation when adequate gas is not available,” said Petrobangla chairman Zanendra Nath.
He also claimed that the agreement with UMPL has the same provision as others that Petrobangla will supply gas depending on availability.
He said that only Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) can divert gas to this plant from any other plants from its total allocation.
Recently the US Ambassador Peter Haas urged the government to consider its efficiency to supply gas to the UMPL project.
During a visit to the plant on March 15, he said the power plant is highly efficient in terms of environment as it will generate electricity consuming half of the gas required for other power plants of similar capacity.
"This power plant will serve 700,000 homes using half of the gas compared to other power plants," Haas said.
Unique Meghnaghat Power Limited (UMPL), a consortium of Strategic Finance Limited, Unique Hotel & Resorts Limited and General Electric (GE) of USA, has been implementing the 584 MW Gas-based combined cycle power plant as independent power producer (IPP) at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj under a contract with the government.
State-owned Power Development Board (BPDB) will purchase electricity from the plant over a period of 22 years at a levelised tariff rate of around US cents 3.69 per unit (1 kilowatt-hour) if it is run by locally produced gas. Each unit is 1 kilowatt-hour.
The tariff would be US cents 6.80 per unit, if it is run by imported LNG.
State-run Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd (TGTDCL), a subsidiary of Petrobangla, will provide gas to the power plant, either local gas or LNG.
According to officials, the plant will consume about 100 mmcf gas per day.
Project officials said that about 92 percent of the total construction work has been completed and the plant will come into commercial operation in October 2023.
Mohd. Noor Ali, Chairman of UMPL said that it is a symbol of the capabilities of the private sector of Bangladesh. This is a highly efficient power plant and it will surely take top position in the demand order or merit order from the off-taker (BPDB).
UMPL Managing Director Chowdhury Nafeez Sarafat acknowledged the contribution of US companies, including GE, in providing the latest technology gas turbines to Bangladesh's much-needed power infrastructure.
Mentioning the project as a lower carbon emitter, he said the project will be a big contributor to the commitment of Bangladesh to achieve nationally determined contributions as per Paris Agreement.
In this plant, GE’s latest 9HA.01 Gas Turbine has been used, which will operate at more than 62% efficiency whereas the traditional gas turbine efficiency is around 30-40 percent.
Deepesh Nanda, CEO of GE Gas Power, South Asia said, “GE Gas Power is committed to bring affordable, reliable and sustainable power generation technology to Bangladesh and has been contributing to transform the power sector in the country by offering advanced powering technology and power services solutions."
GE has been working as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project.