The country is likely to get 300 million cubic feet of new gas per day (mmcfd) from Chevron’s ongoing expansion project at Bibiyana field.
Sources at the energy sector said the US-based international oil company’s $500-million expansion work is nearing its target and expected to be completed by the end of 2014, raising the prospect of getting new gas.
According to the sources, over 60 percent of the expansion has so far been completed.
Officials believe that the bulk new gas will play a major role in resolving the country’s nagging energy crisis for which many industries and power sector are suffering a lot.
Last year, Chevron announced the Bibiyana expansion plan — the processing plant adding two new trains with capacity of 150 mmcfd each and setting up of enhanced gas-to-liquids recovery unit and drilling of four new development wells.
In addition to the four new wells under the expansion project, Chevron is also engaged in drilling another seven new development wells. Of the seven wells, six have been completed and one is currently underway.
However, the benefit of Chevron’s new gas delivery will largely depend on timely completion of Bibiyana-Dhanua pipeline, now being implemented by the state-owned Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL).
Talking about the gas pipeline project as the largest one in the subcontinent, Petrobangla chairman Dr Hussain Monsur said he is hopeful of completing its construction work by next year.
According to Petrobangla’s website, Bibiyana is the largest gas-producing field currently producing 850 mmcf gas per day among the country’s total 22 gas fields.
The expansion programme, considered as the largest foreign investment project in the country’s energy history, is expected to increase Bibiyana’s production by 35 percent. This will also boost production of 4,000 barrels of liquid fuel (condensate) worth about $175MM a year at the current import prices.
Energy experts believe that completion of such a large scale project on schedule is always challenging. Because, it involves construction activities on a brownfield site having a live operating plant adjacent to it. Maintaining incident and injury free operations is the key of the challenge.
Chevron Bangladesh chief Geoff Strong said, “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Chevron. We’ve achieved 2 million man-hours of work without recordable injuries on this project alone. This is a lot to be proud of”.
Petrobangla had initially requested Chevron to supply 600 mmcfd new gas from the field but the IOC agreed to provide half of its request 300 mmcfd gas.
Mentioning the project as most significant, Geoff Strong said that this will add 300 mmcfd to the national gas supply. “I can’t tell you how proud I’m to be associated with a project that will not only make a significant impact in the nation’s energy sector, but will also help drive the growth of a thriving economy”.
Strong said Bibiyana will play a crucial role in Bangladesh’s energy security for many years to come. “This flagship project will provide more affordable energy that will not only increase Chevron’s business in Bangladesh, but will also help drive economic growth. So, this project is a big win for everyone involved.”
He appreciated Petrobangla and other government agencies for their continuous support to the expansion work.
Sources said at its peak, approximately 1,000 on-site workers from different disciplines including welders, electricians, crane-operators, cooks, security-guards get involved in a whole gamut of mechanical, civil and other activities.
About 85 percent of the site workforce is Bangladeshi nationals and Chevron has taken measures to provide comprehensive safety training for all of them.
Projects portfolio manager Mike Smith said completing a capital-intensive, highly technical project of this massive scale in less than 30 months brings with it all sorts of challenges. “We’re working in a rural setting, engaging large numbers of people who have had no prior exposure to industrial activities. Keeping everybody in safe everyday while executing this project and providing gas to Bangladesh on time is our primary goal.”