Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is re-preparing for the experimental release of crude fuel oil through the pipeline laid under the sea after the first phase failed. If the trial commissioning is successful in early November, the country’s first ‘Single Point Mooring’ (SPM) project will be officially inaugurated in the same month.
When it is operational, fuel oil will be released from the mother vessel at the floating buoy or jetty installed in Mohshekhali deep sea of Cox’s Bazar. It will then be brought to the Eastern Refinery at Patenga, 110 km away, through a pipeline for refining. Through this, it is believed that a new horizon will be started in the country’s energy supply management and energy security.
The project is being implemented on a J2O basis between the Government of Bangladesh and China at a cost of 8 thousand crore rupees. On behalf of BPC, the subsidiary Eastern Refinery Limited is responsible for implementation. 97 percent of the project has been completed so far. Now waiting for the inauguration after trial delivery.
According to Eastern Refinery sources, on July 5, for the first time, an initiative was taken to release experimental oil in the pipeline through floating buoys installed in the sea. At that time, the process of unloading 82 thousand tons of oil from a mother tanker named ‘MT Hore’ and taking it to the pipeline started with the cooperation of Chittagong port. But after connecting the vessel to the buoy, it was stopped a few hours after the oil discharge started. At that time, some parts of the hose pipe were damaged. Some of the oil was also washed into the sea. Later the oil from the tanker is discharged by the old method i.e. lightering.
According to sources, preparations are underway for the second phase of commissioning. The contractor of the project will replace the damaged pipe by October 15. Then crude oil commissioning on November 4 and diesel commissioning on November 9 is planned. If the commissioning is successful, the opening date will be finalized.
According to sources, the government is implementing the project named ‘Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) with Double Pipeline’ to meet the increasing demand of fuel oil and ensure energy security in the country. If this project is implemented, it will be ensured that the imported crude oil and HSD (High Speed Diesel) can be discharged from the mother vessel in an easy, safe, low-cost and shortest time.
After extending the duration of the project several times in 2015, the current expenditure stands at 8 thousand 341 crores. The engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project is China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Company Limited.
Eastern Refinery Managing Director Engineer. Lokman told Jugantar, ‘The first commissioning was not successful due to an accident. A mooring hoser (thick rope from ship to buoy) and floating hosepipe were accidentally damaged during commissioning. The contractor has not yet handed over the project to us. Therefore, it is also the responsibility of the contractor. They are expected to bring the damaged items by October 15. After installing them, we are currently planning to supply crude oil on November 4 and diesel on November 9 in the pipeline on a trial basis. After that two circuits will also be commissioned to ensure that oil comes from Maheshkhali to Patenga.’
He said that 97 percent of the project work has been completed. There is no more work left except commissioning. If the commissioning is successful, the prime minister is expected to inaugurate it in November itself.
Due to current infrastructural limitations of Chittagong port and low navigability of Karnaphuli river channel, it is not possible to discharge oil directly from mother oil tankers. For this reason, mother oil tankers anchor in the deep sea and release crude oil through small lighterage vessels. Thus a 1 lakh DWT (Dead Weight Tonnage) tanker was discharged in 11 days. The SPM project would take only 2 days to discharge oil from a vessel of this size. It will also reduce wastage. If the oil is released through the pipeline, it will save about 800 crore rupees annually. Under the project, SPM jetty or floating buoy has been installed in the deep sea at Maheshkhali. Here the oil will be unloaded from the ship first. The oil will be transported to the tank at Kalamar Union in Maheshkhali through a pipeline laid under the sea. Through two 110 km long parallel onshore and offshore pipelines, the oil will go through Chittagong’s Anwara to the Eastern Refinery located at Patenga in Chittagong city.