Three Japanese conglomerates vying for the project
State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has decided to set up a dedicated liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal at Matarbari deep sea port in order to meet the growing energy needs of the country.
At present, the country consumes about 1 million MT of LPG annually. The figure was 47,000 MT in 2009, and projected to reach 2.5 million MT by 2025, industry insiders told UNB.
LPG businessmen currently import liquified gas through small- and medium-sized vessels from Singapore or other nearest deep sea ports where large vessels are anchored.
But once the Matarbari deep sea port becomes operational, large vessels will be able to dock there, reducing their cost by $35-40 per MT, according to BPC officials.
“That’s why the implementation of the third terminal for LPG is very important as import of such petroleum gas is growing by 10-14% per annum against the backdrop of increasing consumption needs,” said a BPC official, on condition of anonymity.
BPC has already initiated a move to conduct a feasibility study for the LPG terminal project. “We are ready to invite bids seeking expression of Interest (EoI) from international companies for engaging a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for the project and submit a report," said the official.
Sources said that three international consortiums, led by two Japanese companies, have already shown interest and submitted separate proposals to BPC and also to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division.
One consortium is led by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co Ltd, in which Korean company SK Gas and local East Coast Group are also collobatoring, while the other two consortiums are-one led by Japanese company Marubeni Corporation and the other led by Sumitomo Corporation.
The Netherlands-based Vitol Energy is part of the Marubeni-led consortium while Chungko Electric Power Co Inc is the partner of Sumitomo Corporation.
Mitsui Group has been one of the largest business groups in Japan having worldwide businesses in energy and infrastructure, while SK Group is the third largest conglomerate in South Korea owning and operating deep sea LPG terminals and big LPG carriers like VLGCs. The East Cast Group has 35 years of experience in the downstream petroleum sector, including LPG in Bangladesh.
The sources said that Marubeni and Sumitomo have investments in Bangladesh's power sector, while the Netherlands-based LPG trading company Vitol has been engaged in bulk LPG supply to Bangladesh for the past 3-4 years.
Meanwhile, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has forwarded the three proposals of the consortiums to the Prime Minister’s Office, seeking further directive on behalf of BPC.
However, instead of taking any decision, the PMO has asked BPC to evaluate their proposals and send the evaluation report on the basis of the interested firms’ experience in the field, sources said, adding that BPC may take some days to do the job "as there is no evaluation criteria at present in this regard".
“We have to set some criteria to evaluate their proposals and then only, we will be able to evaluate them”, said a top BPC official, preferring anonymity.