An indefinite strike called by fuel traders in Khulna is underway since this morning (September 03, 2023) to realise their three-point demand including hiking commission on fuel sales. Moving fuel from Padma, Jamuna and Meghna oil depots has remained suspended since 8 am. Bangladesh Tank-Lorry Owners’ Association, Bangladesh Fuel Oil Distributors Association, Khulna Divisional Tank-Lorry Workers’ Union and Padma, Meghna and Jamuna Tank-Lorry Workers’ Welfare Association are observing the strike. Their demands include raising commission on fuel sales to at least 7.5 percent, setting the tank-lorry economic life to 50 years, and issuing a gazette notification mentioning fuel traders as commission agents as per previous pledges. Read: Khulna fuel traders threaten strike from Sept 3 if demands not met As news of the strike surfaced earlier, a huge number of motorbikes and private vehicles were seen forming queues at fuel pumps in Khulna on Saturday night. Claiming their demands as logical, Md Muraduzzaman, a leader of petrol pump owners’ association, said they were forced to start the strike from Sunday morning as their demands were not met by August 31. The strike will end when their three-point demand is met, he said. Read: Sylhet’s Osmani hospital’s intern doctors call off strike
Fuel traders in Khulna threatened to go for an indefinite strike from September 3 if their three-point demand, including raising sales commission, is not met by August 31.Abdul Gaffar Biswas, president of Khulna District Petrol Pump Owners Association made the announcement after a meeting with fuel traders in the New Market area of Khulna city on Wednesday night. Sylhet’s Osmani hospital’s intern doctors call off strikeBesides raising sales commission, the other demands are setting the tank-lorry economic life to 50 years and issuing a gazette notification as per the pledges. Ambulance owners call strike from TuesdayAbdul Gaffar said they have placed their three-point demand several times but the government did not pay heed. That’s why the fuel traders decided to go for an indefinite strike from September 3. One-Point Demand: Over 200 freedom fighters to observe hunger strike in city Monday
Removal of discrepancies in the import duties imposed on primary fuels, which are used as inputs in power generation, can reduce the government’s subsidies in the power and energy sector. The notion is being put forward by the private power producers of the country, also known as IPPs (independent power producers). They are claiming that the discriminatory import taxes on primary fuels - furnace oil (diesel), coal, and gas (LNG) - ultimately favours the coal-fired power plants that projects the government’s biases towards ‘the dirtiest fuel’. Currently there is a 5 percent duty on the import of coal, which rises to 34 percent on furnace oil, aka heavy fuel oil (HFO), and 22 percent on gas. Read more: Ilisha-1 country’s 29th gas field: Nasrul Hamid As a result, the price per MMBtu (metric million British Thermal Unit) of coal comes to Tk 10-11 and when power is generated from coal, it costs Tk 12-13. After adding 5 percent import duty, the cost of electricity from coal-fired power plants becomes Tk 13-14. On the other hand, the price per MMBtu of HFO comes to Tk 11-12 and the power generation from the HFO costs Tk 11-12 due to its higher heat value. But when the 34 percent import duty on HFO is added, its power generation cost becomes Tk 15-16 per unit. In the same way, the cost per MMBtu of imported gas is Tk 11-12 and its power generation cost becomes 10-11 due to its higher heat value. But after adding the import duty of 22 percent, the per unit electricity generation cost from gas-fired plants goes up to 13-14 per unit. “If the discrepancies are removed from duty regime, and import duty on all fuels is made uniform at 22 percent, the production cost of electricity from diesel-fired plants will be lower than that of coal-fired power plants,” said Imran Karim, former president of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers Association (BIPPA), the trade body representing the interests of private power producers. Read more: Many big industries using illegal gas connections: Nasrul Hamid Karim, also the vice chairman of Confidence Group, a leading firm in private power generation, said the duty should be uniform considering the government’s commitment to support cleaner fuels - coal being the original dirty fuel. Furnace oil of course is no better. “The government will receive more revenue from imported fuels, if the duty on all fuels are equalised,” he added. According to the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s estimate, in the current fiscal 2022-23, the power and energy sector will require over Tk 23,000 in subsidies to cover its losses. Of this, the power sector will require Tk 18,000 crore while around Tk 6000 crore would go on primary fuels. Read more: New PSC: Petrobangla awaits final nods to invite int’l bidding for offshore blocks Earlier, the loss in the sector was estimated much higher at over Tk 70,000 crore due to the excessive price hike of gas, coal and petroleum fuel following the war in Ukraine that began in February 2022. But after the enhancement of fuel prices on the domestic market by more than 40 percent pn average and power tariff by more than 15 percent, the losses came down and subsequently the requirement for subsidy was also reduced to around Tk 23,000 crore, said officials at the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. Private power producers claim that if the import duty on coal and furnace oil were made the same as that on gas, i.e. 22 percent, it would reduce overall costs and thus reduce the subsidy as well. “Because, the power generation by furnace oil-based plants will automatically go down and it will ultimately have an impact on the overall tariff structure in the power sector by seeping through to both the wholesale and retail levels,” said an IPP plant operator. Read more: Petrobangla initiates move to end foreign company’s monopoly in pre-paid gas metering system Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain said that both coal and furnace oil are dirty fuels, so by the IPPs’ logic, the import duty on these two fuels should be higher than on gas - not uniform. “The import duty on coal and HFO should be equal and import duty on gas could be comparatively lower as it is the cleanest of the three,” he said.
Gas supply will remain suspended for 8 hours — from 2 pm to 10 pm — today (March 22, 2023) for all consumers in several Dhaka areas due to emergency work of pipelines. The areas include Minto Road, Eskaton, Pirbagh, Habibullah Road, Karwan Bazar, Old Elephant Road and areas adjacent to PG Hospital, Paribagh BPDB quarters, Birdem Hospital, Dhaka Club, Holy Family Hospital, Dhaka University and Buet, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited said. Also Read: Unique's 585 MW Meghnaghat power plant to be ready by Oct, but questions hang over gas supply In another notice, Titas said that gas supply will remain off on both sides of the Saoghat- Araihazar road in Narayanganj from 8 am to 5 pm for emergency pipe tie-in work today. Regretting for the temporary inconveniences, Titas Gas authorities said the consumers in adjacent areas may experience low pressure in gas supply. Read More: Gas explosion at residential, commercial buildings: Common causes and ways to prevent them
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has expressed Bangladesh's interest to import more petroleum at an affordable price from India. He conveyed this while making a courtesy call on India's Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Housing, Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri in Delhi. During the meeting they discussed various issues related to mutual interest. The Power Division issued a press release in this regard. Nasrul Hamid discussed diesel import, India-Bangladesh friendship pipeline, Engineers India Limited (EIL), increasing energy cooperation, exchange of experience, training and human resource development, LNG import, offshore gas exploration etc with the Indian minister. Read more: Fuel import from India through pipeline to start from 2023: PM He also discussed the overall situation of the energy sector in Bangladesh. The Indian minister invited Nasrul Hamid to the India Energy Week scheduled for next February. He said that India will work closely with Bangladesh in the area of energy cooperation. “If Bangladesh wants to open the energy market, India will extend necessary cooperation,” he said, adding that modernization of petroleum institutes and development of human resources can be done together. Among others, Power Secretary Md. Habibur Rahman, BPDB Chairman Md. Mahbubur Rahman and High Commissioner of Bangladesh Md. Mostafizur Rahman were present during the meeting. Read more: “Assurance of getting oil, gas from India big accomplishment of recent visit”
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday (November 13, 2022) sought fuel from Saudi Arabia, with a deferred payment schedule. She made the request while the Deputy Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al Dawood called on her at her official residence Ganabhaban. Read more: Bangladesh wants to import petroleum from KSA at lower price: Nasrul PM’s press secretary briefed reporters after the meeting. He said that Bangladesh's Prime Minister sought cooperation in oil supply from Saudi Arabia with a deferred payment schedule. Read more: Saudi Arabia assures assistance in commercial supply of LNG to Bangladesh
The government is working to revise the “Renewable Energy Policy of Bangladesh 2008” to make it more effective in the changed energy and power sector scenario. Official sources said, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), the focal organization under Power Division of the government, has already appointed a consultant. The consultant – Development Technical Consultants Pvt. Ltd (DTCL) – has started reviewing the existing renewable energy policy, REPB-2008, and organize focus group discussion for stakeholders. Read:Govt deliberately pursuing import-dependent energy policy: Speakers According to renewable energy industry insiders, the first meeting of the stakeholders will be held on September 20 in Sreda office. The consultant firm convened the meeting on behalf of Sreda where it will make a presentation on the existing policy and seek opinions of the stakeholders to update it in a national and global changed scenario, said an industry insider. He said the initiative have come from the government as a follow-up of its statements to 26th meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Scotland, United Kingdom, from October 31 to November 13 2021. Read: Experts for reining in energy corruption, exploration of alternative sources In the COP26 meeting, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in written statement said: “We are also working for a more sustainable energy mix. We hope to have 40% of our energy from renewable sources by 2041”. She also said, “Recently we submitted an ambitious and updated NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) to the UNFCCC. We have cancelled 10 coal-based power plants worth 12 billion dollars of foreign investment. Currently, as per Sreda statistics, the country generates about 911 MW (solar 677 MW, hydro 230 MW and others 2 MW) while the total power generation is more than 25,000 MW which shows the renewable energy’s share is less than 4 percent. Read: Patience can help overcome crisis in energy sector: Nasrul The recent crisis in primary fuels is another reason behind the move, said a Sreda official. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, recently at a function, said that among other options of renewable energy, solar power has huge potential for Bangladesh. But since it requires substantial land allocation, it needs an innovative solution. He also said Bangladesh is now promoting the options of rooftop and floating solar panels and net metering system has been introduced to popularise the use of solar power. Read Huawei Technologies intends to support RMG industry in renewable energy “There is a good opportunity to work on wind power as well,” he said, adding that wind mapping has been completed for 9 potential sites and feasibility will be conducted on the potential for offshore wind power. Private investors in renewable energy sector welcomed the Sreda initiative to review the renewable energy policy and bring necessary amendments to promote non-conventional energy sources. Dipal Barua, president of Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA), termed the initiative “time befitting.” Read TEI GET to promote renewable energy in Bangladesh He said despite a huge potential, the country could not utilize it due to lack of proper action plan. Munawar Moin, Vice President of BSREA and President of Solar Module Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh (SMAB), said the government should introduce a policy under which the local solar industry could utilise their full potentials. Cost of solar energy decreased substantially and has created a huge scope for investment in mega projects, he said. Read Green Economy in Bangladesh: Prospects and Challenges
Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, is contemplating buying Russian oil to ease the burden of rising energy prices. In an interview with the Financial Times, Widodo said, “We always monitor all of the options. If there is the country (and) they give a better price, of course,” Widodo raised the price of subsidised fuel by 30% earlier this month, citing financial concerns as the reason for the price increase. Read: Indonesia hikes fuel prices by 30%, cuts energy subsidies Thousands of protestors gathered last week in Jakarta and other major cities to condemn the government’s decision to reduce fuel subsidies. The 270 million-strong nation was rocked by demonstrations after the decision. However, any decision to buy Russian crude oil at a price higher than the G7-agreed price cap could result in US penalties against Indonesia. Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s minister of tourism, claimed in August that Indonesia had received a 30% discount on Russian petroleum. The nation’s state-owned oil corporation, Pertamina, then declared that it was examining the risks of acquiring Russian oil. Read: Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry to visit Greece, Indonesia, Vietnam Due to rising food costs, Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, reported annual inflation of 4.7% in August.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Saturday said Indian businesses have expressed their interest in investing in some sectors like fuel, transport and agro processing in Bangladesh. He said this while responding to queries from journalists at his residence on Central Road in Rangpur city. Minister Munshi said the Indian investors expressed the interest and sought cooperation while holding meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her a four day state visit in the neighbouring country. Upon the discussion, the premier also assured them of offering of all sorts of cooperation in doing business, he said. Terming the prime minister’s visit as effective, he said the Indian Adani Group proposed to invest Tk 4,000 crore to the Bangladesh. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sought Bangladesh beside it to go ahead,” the minister said. He hoped that the Tessta water sharing deal will be done within a short time as a positive response from the West Bengal came in this regard – although he didn’t Replying to a question, the commerce minister said the price of soybean oil will be decreased one more step after adjusting with the global market soon. Read: Govt doing its best to rein in prices of essential commodities: PM Munshi also said that prices of essential commodities will be cut as initiatives have been taken to export food gains from countries including Russia and Ukraine. Elaborating the government measures, he claimed that ten million people of the country have been enjoying cheap rates of essential commodities through Trading Corporation of Bangladesh across the country.
NASA’s new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second attempt to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. The first attempt earlier in the week was also marred by escaping hydrogen, but those leaks were elsewhere on the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA. Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team tried to plug Saturday’s leak the way they did the last time: stopping and restarting the flow of super-cold liquid hydrogen in hopes of removing the gap around a seal in the supply line. They tried that twice, in fact, and also flushed helium through the line. But the leak persisted. Blackwell-Thompson finally halted the countdown after three to four hours of futile effort. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's new moon rocket sprang another hazardous leak Saturday, as the launch team began fueling it for liftoff on a test flight that must go well before astronauts climb aboard. For the second time this week, the launch team began loading nearly 1 million gallons of fuel into the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA. Monday’s attempt was halted by a bad engine sensor and leaking fuel. As the sun rose, an over-pressure alarm sounded and the tanking operation was briefly halted, but no damage occurred and the effort resumed. But minutes later, hydrogen fuel began leaking from the engine section at the bottom of the rocket. NASA halted the operation, while engineers scrambled to plug what was believed to be a gap around a seal in the supply line. The countdown clocks continued ticking toward an afternoon liftoff; NASA had two hours Saturday to get the rocket off. NASA wants to send the crew capsule atop the rocket around the moon, pushing it to the limit before astronauts get on the next flight. If the five-week demo with test dummies succeeds, astronauts could fly around the moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025. People last walked on the moon 50 years ago. Forecasters expected generally favorable weather at Kennedy Space Center, especially toward the end of the two-hour afternoon launch window. On Monday, hydrogen fuel escaped from elsewhere in the rocket. Technicians tightened up the fittings over the past week, but launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson stressed that she wouldn't know whether everything was tight until Saturday's fueling. Read: NASA scrubs launch of new moon rocket after engine problem Even more of a problem on Monday, a sensor indicated one of the rocket's four engines was too warm, but engineers later verified it actually was cold enough. The launch team planned to ignore the faulty sensor this time around and rely on other instruments to ensure each main engine was properly chilled. Before igniting, the main engines need to be as frigid as the liquid hydrogen fuel flowing into them at minus-420 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-250 degrees Celsius). If not, the resulting damage could lead to an abrupt engine shutdown and aborted flight. Mission managers accepted the additional risk posed by the engine issue as well as a separate problem: cracks in the rocket's insulating foam. But they acknowledged other problems — like fuel leaks — could prompt yet another delay. That didn't stop thousands from jamming the coast to see the Space Launch System rocket soar. Local authorities expected massive crowds because of the long Labor Day holiday weekend. The $4.1 billion test flight is the first step in NASA's Artemis program of renewed lunar exploration, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. Twelve astronauts walked on the moon during NASA’s Apollo program, the last time in 1972. Artemis — years behind schedule and billions over budget — aims to establish a sustained human presence on the moon, with crews eventually spending weeks at a time there. It's considered a training ground for Mars.