Coal News of Phulbari – Bangladesh

News on coal resources & coal basins of Bangladesh

Posts Tagged ‘Phulbari-news’

Local coal for power generation

Posted by phulbarinews on November 11, 2009


THE Power Development Board (PDB) has reportedly proposed last week to form a public limited company to install coal-based power plants in future. According to PDB sources, four mega coal-based power plants having capacity of producing 500 megawatt of electricity each would be established under the supervision of the proposed company by 2014. Several companies have already expressed interest to establish the plants under Public Private Partnership.

The country suffers from a serious shortage of electricity. According to sources, the total generation comes to 3,200mw of electricity against the demand for 4,600mw. The crisis has reached a point of seriously hampering production in mills and factories. Several power plants are reportedly producing electricity less than their capacities. Some others have stopped production due to short supply of gas that fuels 80 percent of power generation. According to a projection, the country will need about 10,000mw and 14,000mw electricity by 2015 and 2020 respectively. But except for limited reserves of gas there is only coal to fuel power plants. So, the proposal for installation of coal-based power plants is a step in the right direction.

It has been reported that PDB would use imported coal to run the proposed plants. Bangladesh has a proven reserve of 2,086 million tons of high quality coal. According to experts, this coal is enough to generate 5,000mw of electricity for upto 90 years. It will also save about US$500 million that the country spends annually to import coal. Petrobangla had in June even proposed to export two lakh tons of coal from Barapukuria due to storage problem. Then what is the reason behind the idea of using imported coal instead of the local coal? The country should go for early extraction of its own coal resources.


Date: 09 November 2009, Bangladesh


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PM for further review of draft coal policy

Posted by phulbarinews on November 11, 2009

R Akter

pmPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the energy division to further review the draft coal policy, especially of the possible impact of mining on the people and environment. The energy officials at a meeting with the PM recommended open-pit mining of the north side of the Barapukuria coalfield in Dinajpur, but Hasina said that she would not make any hurried decision on open-pit mining, said sources present at the meeting.

Energy officials and prime minister’s adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, state minister for power and energy Enamul Haque, energy secretary Mohammad Mohsin and Petrobangla’s chairman Muqtadir Ali made presentations before Hasina on the latest developments in the energy sector at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, prime minister’s economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman and state minister for land Mustafizur Rahman were also present at the meeting. The energy officials told the PM that non-resident Bangladeshis as well as the latest draft of the coal policy prepared by the caretaker government had recommended open-pit mining at Barapukuria.

The PM, however, told the energy officials that they needed to ascertain the possible impact of open-pit mining before they could come to a decision on the matter. “Nothing is to be done in a hurry,” she is learnt to have said. Hasina asked the energy officials to further review the draft policy before placing it again before her.

She also wanted to know whether the people affected by underground mining at Barapukuria were getting due compensation and at what stage was the plan to establish a mining city in Dinajpur. The energy officials said that they had taken up a taka 300 crore project to compensate the affected people, acquire land and create a mining city. The officials also briefed the PM about the gas supply situation.


Date: 08 November 2009, Bangladesh

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Tk 300cr for coalmine city at Barapukuria

Posted by phulbarinews on November 11, 2009

Bss, Dhaka

The government has allocated Tk 300 crore as compensation to the victims of the Barapukuria Coalmine areas to establish the proposed coalmine city in Dinajpur. Following the Memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the affected people of Barapukuria coal mine areas, Barapukuria mining authority and local government organisations, the energy ministry asked the finance ministry to allocate the amount to implement the package.


“The finance ministry has allocated this amount for rehabilitation and land acquisition purposes in the Barapukuria coal mining areas and some NGOs are also working there to implement the package”, said Energy Secretary M Mohsin yesterday. As a part of establishing the coalmine city, Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd (BCMCL) and representatives of villagers affected due to coal mining signed a memorandum of understanding on May 14-15.

Energy ministry sources said the government will acquire 490 acres of land of the mining areas. “The government has fixed the compensation package as per the assessment by a private organisation”, Mohsin said. The surveyor firm assess the amount for compensation considering agricultural, commercial and residential land, number of trees, cattle, poultry birds, domestic space and housing structures, school, college, religious structure, graveyard, forestry, road, canal, pond, Eidgah, bridges, electric poles, shallow or deep tube-wells etc of the affected families of Barapukuria.

“According to the survey 2,447 people are living there in 1,494 semi pucca and pucca and kuctha households,” an official of Barapukuria coalmine said. Earlier, the government announced that the affected families of coalmine areas will get compensation like the people affected by the acquisition of land for Jamuna Bridge got it.

Date: 03 November 2009, Bangladesh

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New co to be set up to increase coal-based power generation

Posted by phulbarinews on November 11, 2009

M Azizur Rahman

The government will form a new company styled ‘Bangladesh Coal Power Company’ to set up the planned coal-fired power plants and increase the country’s electricity generation by using the mineral, officials said Saturday. The power ministry has already decided to create the company after enlisting it with the Registrar of the Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSCF), a senior ministry official told the FE.

He said the proposed new company will boost electricity generation from coal, which is abundant in northern Bangladesh. Immediately after formation of the company it will be engaged to facilitate setting up four coal-fired power plants to generate 2,000 megawatts (mw) of electricity, each having generation capacity of 500 mw.

The power ministry has taken up the programme for installing four coal-fired
power plants under the new concept of the private public partnership (PPP) where the government will own only a fraction of its shares for offering land and infrastructure. It will require around US$ 3.0 billion (Tk 210 billion) for setting up these coal plants. When contacted Chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) ASM Alamgir Kabir said the board is now working on the formation of the new company to augment electricity generation from the coal-fired power plants.

The company will be constituted with the efficient people where some BPDB officials will also get appointment, he said. “The BPDB has already initiated the groundbreaking work and is now selecting sites for setting up the plants,” he said. It has primarily selected – Karnaphuli river bank in Chittagong, near Mongla seaport in Khulna, Jazira on the bank of Padma and at Meghnaghat on the bank of Meghna – for setting up the plants for smooth transportation of coal.

Initially, the planned power plants will be run with the imported coal from the global markets, including the key exporting countries like Indonesia, Australia and India. The existing infrastructure like drafting in waterways and expansion of railway tracks will be required for efficient coal transportation, said a power ministry official. All the four proposed coal-fired power plants along with some independent power producer (IPP) projects will be put on offer during the road shows in three key important locations – New York, London and Singapore – in December next.

“The major task of the proposed company will be to arrange finance, necessary coal supply and develop required infrastructure,” said the power ministry official. Despite having enormous coal reserves of around 3.0 billion tonnes in five different mines the country’s coal-fired power generation is limited to only one plant at Barapukuria having the generation capacity of 250 mw. Even the Barapukuria plant is struggling to generate electricity to half of its installed capacity.

The country is waiting for adoption of a national coal policy to start coal extraction from the mineral-rich northern region. The country’s overall electricity generation is now hovering around 3,800mw against the peak hour demand for over 5,500mw.


Date: 01 November 2009, Bangladesh

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“Offshore PSC will Protect Nation’s Interest”

Posted by phulbarinews on November 11, 2009

Mollah Amzad Hossain

Hussain-MonsurProduction Sharing Contract for exploration of petroleum in the Bay of Bengal is being expeditiously concluded targeting commencement of exploration in the ensuing winter corridor. Professor Dr Hussain Monsur said this while talking to Energy & Power.

He has just joined as Chairman of Petrobangla for a second term. He earlier served as Chairman of the country’s gas & oil corporation during the last term of Awami League government

Following are the excerpts of the discussion between Dr Hussain Monsur and EP Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain.

EP: What are your main challenges in your second term as Chairman Petrobangla?

HM: Gas crisis was not such acute when I took the assignment last term. We have to enhance production of gas expeditiously to meet the increased demand of fuel for energy generation. Increasing gas production to required level is our primary challenge now. Discovering, developing new gas resources and increasing production from under production gas fields are also major challenges.

EP: Country is passing through acute gas crisis. All new gas connection remains suspended. What are your plans to confront this crisis?

HM: The essential first step here is to increase reserve of gas. Petrobangla has already initiated actions for this. A part of these actions are already underway by state owned exploration company BAPEX, to explore new prospects identified in seismic surveys. Moreover, action is also underway to conduct 3D seismic survey in major gas fields under production for further enhancement of production.

Workover is underway on some underproduction wells. Actions have also been taken to encourage IOCs to expedite exploration in their allotted blocks. Moreover, Petrobangla has initiated actions to explore possibility of LNG import. If successful, this can meet the partial requirement of national gas demand apart from confronting the gas crisis of Chittagong area.

The present gas crisis has not been created overnight. The caretaker government or four-party alliance government virtually did not take any initiative for exploration in frontier areas. Present government has taken short term contingency plan to the confront the crisis, and mid term and long term plans to create a comfortable surplus. Petrobangla is now working to implement the plan.

EP: What are your views on some government decisions like allowing Chevron additional areas adjacent to Jalalabad gas fields for exploration, works of Muchai pipeline compressor station and allowing Cairn the option to sale its share of profit gas after discovery and development of Magnama and Hatiya gas fields?

HM:  At this stage it is not proper to give opinion on these matters. These decisions were taken before I took over. As Petrobangla Chairman it is my responsibility now to implement government decisions.

EP: OGPC has raised and issue that PSC for exploration is being concluded to export gas. What are your views about it? You have also worked with them in the name of protection of gas, oil and port at some stage in the past.

HM: I have never worked for OGPC, I was rather associated with Citizen Committee. For this I participated in various programs and raised our genuine and reasonable concerns as an energy expert. You must realize that every citizen has democratic right to oppose signing any contract on issues of national interest. Again, government on the basis of peoples mandate has also right to take decisions protecting the national interest and sign agreements.

I do always believe that unelected interim government must not take such decisions. But that does not mean that even elected government can not take decisions. There is no point disputing decisions of the government having overwhelming peoples mandate to take such decisions. On the other hand, OGPC through misinterpretations has embarrassed the government. Its claim of export provision of gas from probable discovery in offshore exploration has no basis. Rather the PSC has adequate safeguard to make gas available for domestic use. Companies would construct pipelines from offshore platform to onshore custody transfer metering facilities.

Certain quarter is deliberately misguiding the nation through false propaganda and baseless allegations. They are barricading development of national energy resources when nation is suffering from acute gas crisis. Only those persons are patriots who can talk sensibly for the greater national interest refraining from false ill motivated propaganda to gain short term political mileage.

EP: How far has Petrobangla progressed in PSC negotiations with two IOCs– Conocco Philips and Tullow for off-shore blocks in the Bay of Bengal? How long do you think it will take to conclude the PSCs?

HM: Petrobangla has already concluded the first round of discussions. It is an ongoing process. We hope to conclude it expeditiously. Our target is to initiate exploration activities during the ensuing winter corridor.

EP: OGPC has declared that they will call for “hartal” and “gherao” as soon as PSC is concluded? How do you look at it?

HM: Those who are agitating on the streets do not have a clear idea about PSC. Everything is being done in a very transparent process following good international examples and protecting national interest. We hope that the democratic government can confront and contain them politically if they still do not come to senses, and continue to misguide nations.

EP: What are your visions with BAPEX? How you are planning to strengthen it financially and technically?

HM: Strengthening BAPEX has become a slogan of many. But we do not like to confine it to mere slogan rather we like to act and prove its competence. The government has already allocated special funds for BAPEX. Necessary funds from ADP has also been released. BAPEX is now much more active than any time before, and strongly advancing its assigned tasks.

EP: Valuable gas of Titas field is being wasted through seepage. Operation of the gas field is being endangered for failure to stop this leakage. This situation must be remedied. What are you thinking about it?

HM: Titas is an old and major gas field. Gas seepage and present risky operation of the field is really alarming. Much of the seepage has been mitigated following the successful killing of well no 3. Actions to stop seepage completely are underway. We hope to complete them soon.

EP: Petrobangla owns two active mines. One of it is a granite mine. That mining company is getting sick as effective actions to market hard rocks could not be done. What are your plans to overcome this?

HM: Madhyapara Granite Mine is one of the two mining projects those were taken up during BNP regime in 1990s without considering their technical feasibility or commercial viability. This is still a loosing initiative. Although it is a granite mine, the hard rock due its sub-standard quality can not be used as tiles. It is now being used as construction material only. Entire project must be reassessed, and based on the findings appropriate actions to make it viable could be undertaken.

EP: There is some controversy about Barapukuria Coal mine. Mine subsidence has made living of 2500 affected people very risky. What are you doing to relocate and rehabilitate them? What is the actual situation? Are you going to go for further mining by open pit method?

HM:  Barapukuria is another mining project which was undertaken by BNP regime of 1990 without following the recommendations of a detail feasibility study. All kinds of problems that can happen in an unplanned underground mine have been encountered here concurrently. High Temperature, poor ventilation, gas formation, water flooding have made economic and safe underground mining a very risky operation. Soft silty water bound overburden and strong active aquifer above multilayer thick coal strata’s have initiated inevitable mine subsidence. Still mining continues in challenging circumstances.

The mining of the present phase is expected to be completed by 2011. Plans and actions for mining of other phases beyond 2011 have not been done yet. From what I have been leant, mining in future following the present long wall underground method will not be feasible. The local inhabitants affected by mine subsidence have already been compensated. The government is also acting positively to rehabilitate them. The government also organised brain storming of local mining professionals and policy makers with NRB mining professionals in June 2009 where among others mining at Barapukuria also came up for discussion. Barapukuria coal mining will never become profitable if mining continues in the present inappropriate long wall underground mining method.

EP: What Petrobangla is going to do with Dighipara Coal Mine?

HM: Petrobangla has obtained license to develop this mine from BMD. Utilising own fund Petrobangla will soon carry out feasibility study of the mine.

EP: What are your views about Phulbari Coal Mine?

HM: A foreign company has a contract with government for Phulbari mining .That company has also submitted Scheme of Development to the government. It is under government’s consideration for approval.  It will not be proper for me as Petrobangla Chairman to give opinion on it. EMRD will take decision on it.

EP: Do you think coal policy is essential for coal sector development? If so what suggestions you like to give to Government to approve it?

HM: Look I do not believe that a Coal Policy is essential for coal sector development. It is very much possible to take any decision on coal mining by following the National Energy Policy, other existing acts and policies. We have no more time to waste waiting for formulation and approval of a Coal Policy.

EP: What actions you like to suggest for human resource development of the entire energy sector?

HM: Country is now passing through acute total energy crisis. Co-ordinated efforts of all segments and groups in the energy value chain are essential to confront crisis and overcome it. Mono fuel dependence for power generation must change. Coal must be extracted expeditiously for power generation. As a geologist I have strong conviction that open pit mining is much more technically and technologically appropriate in Bangladesh situation for economic mining. But decisions must be taken for every mine taking into consideration the required safe guards for social and environmental impacts. Natural gas alone can not meet all energy needs.

EP: During your last term as Chairman Petrobangla you took initiative to recover TK 3600 Crore as compensation from UNOCAL for blow out during exploration at Magurchara. Are you planning to realise this now?

MH:  That claim was based on report of enquiry committee and the Parliamentary Committee of that period. This is an action of the Government. Petrobangla will follow Government decision.

EP: Resolution of NIKO dispute and further development of Feni Gas field is a long outstanding issue. Are you taking initiative to resolve it?

HM: You are aware that Feni gas field is strategically located to deliver additional gas to gas starved Chittagong region. But further development of Feni depends of legal remedy. Petrobangla has taken initiative to resolve it as soon as possible.


Date: 01 November 2009, Bangladesh

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Energy, transport crises block FDI-German team for prompt coalmining development

Posted by phulbarinews on November 2, 2009

News Report

The visiting German business delegation leader Peter Clasen has identified energy crisis and transportation problem as the major impediments to attracting foreign investment in Bangladesh. Addressing a press conference at Lake Shore Hotel in the city on Wednesday, Clasen attached great importance to the energy and inland water transports sectors and indicated German investors” cooperation in this regard.

The German business leader laid emphasis on coalmining development and said the government should take immediate decision on mining method of Fulbaria coal field. Coal-fired power generation can resolve the ongoing power crisis in Bangladesh, he said. Pointing to the bureaucratic red tape, another impediment, Clasen said: “Decision makers have to change their attitude to encourage economic life instead of regulating it. Essentially this means reducing red tape and wiping out excesses of bureaucracy with the government focusing much more than hitherto on improvements of infrastructure.”

German Ambassador to Bangladesh Holger Michael, who was also present at the press conference, said the government should send unambiguous signals about Bangladesh”s openness to foreign investment and that it maintains political framework conditions, which are conducive to long-term invest. He said functioning of Parliament is of vital importance and all political parties represented and all elected MPs should contribute to make it effective.

Asked whether the current political and economic situation is conducive to attracting foreign investment, Michael said: “Bangladesh is on a good way to a stable democracy, but we want the government put emphasis on the implementation of the ”charter for change.” The German business leader lauded the quality of Bangladesh shipbuilding industry and said: “Quality and cheap labour have attracted Europeans to buy ships from Bangladesh.”

He laid emphasis on skilled manpower development and said mere cheap labour would not be the sufficient for attracting foreign investment, “technical quality of Bangladeshi labourers should have to be improved.” He suggested developing more vocational training institutions. Clasen said German companies would invest in development of small-scale power generation plants and also in development of the renewable energy.

The German companies in collaboration with the local partners would also invest in production of different electrical appliances. Md Saiful Islam, president of Bangladesh Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of Western Marine Shipyards, was also present at the press conference. The eight-member German business delegation, arriving in Dhaka on October 25, will be staying in Bangladesh till October 30.

UNB reports: The German business and investment delegation Wednesday apprised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of their keen interest in investing in Bangladesh in sectors like gas exploration, coalmining, and renewable energy. Meeting the Prime Minister at her office Wednesday, the delegation led by Peter Clasen, Head of Bangladesh Section of OAV, the Network of German companies doing business in the Asia-Pacific countries, said they are especially interested to expand their trade and business in Bangladesh.

The Germans prefer Dhaka and Chittagong as their chosen places of investment, Prime Minister”s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen after the meeting. The delegation also expressed their willingness to help Bangladesh in modernising its agriculture system by building modern technology-based farms and imparting training to the farmers on processing organic food items.

Regarding renewable energy, the German team said Germany as an expert country in the sector can help Bangladesh introduce solar energy and biogas system in the country on a massive scale. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her happiness following the German delegation”s interest in making investment in Bangladesh. She told the delegation that following the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh through the December 29 parliamentary polls in 2008, a congenial atmosphere for investment is prevailing here now.

She said Germany can import ceramics, leather products and pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh. In this context, the Prime Minister mentioned that Bangladesh has already started exporting ships to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, opening up a new vista for the country”s external trade. Sheikh Hasina observed that Bangladesh could not achieve its development at required level as its democracy could not run uninterruptedly in the past.

“Now the people have their own government and the democratic government is working relentlessly to ensure economic emancipation of the people,” the Prime Minister told the Germans. Sheikh Hasina said though Bangladesh has faced electricity crisis for the last seven years, the present government within the last few months has been successful in improving the situation through proper management and hard work.

“But the climate issues have appeared as a major threat to the development process of Bangladesh,” the Prime Minister observed. Sheikh Hasina said the government has chalked out various plans, including the launch of capital and maintenance dredging in the rivers, setting up embankments and land reclamation to face the challenges stemming from the global warming.

She said though the government is taking all possible preparations to protect its people from the natural calamities, it is not possible to face the climate-change challenges alone. Hasina also reaffirmed her promise to turn Bangladesh into a food-sufficient country again the way the previous Awami League government did it. The German delegation lauded Sheikh Hasina”s leadership in the international forums and hoped that she would be able to free the people of Bangladesh from poverty and all other socioeconomic problems.

Hasina thanked Germany for its continuous support and assistance to Bangladesh since its independence in 1971 under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister MA Karim, Prime Minister”s Office Secretary Mollah Waheeduzzaman, Ambassador Ziauddin and German Ambassador in Dhaka Holger Michael were present.


Date: 29 October 2009, Bangladesh

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German investors talk energy with Hasina

Posted by phulbarinews on November 2, 2009

Unb, Dhaka

A high-profile German business and investment delegation yesterday apprised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of their keen interest to invest in sectors such as gas exploration, coalmining and renewable energy. Meeting with Hasina at her office, the eight-member delegation led by Peter Clasen, head of Bangladesh section of OAV, a network of German companies doing business in the Asia-Pacific countries, said they are interested in expanding trade and business in Bangladesh.


The Germans prefer Dhaka and Chittagong as their chosen places of investment, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters after the meeting. The delegation also expressed their willingness to help Bangladesh in modernising its agriculture system by building modern technology-based farms and imparting training to the farmers on processing organic food items.

On renewable energy, the team said Germany as an expert country in this sector can help Bangladesh introduce solar energy and biogas systems on a massive scale. Hasina expressed her happiness following the delegation’s interest in making investment in Bangladesh. She said Germany can import ceramics, leather products and pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh.

In this context, the prime minister mentioned that Bangladesh has already started exporting ships to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark-opening up a new vista for external trade. Hasina observed that Bangladesh could not achieve its development at required level as its democracy could not run uninterruptedly in the past.

Date: 29 October 2009, Bangladesh

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Coal extraction: Geoscientists can help find best choice: Tawfiq

Posted by phulbarinews on November 2, 2009

Staff Reporter

Prime Minister’s Adviser for Power and Energy Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, BB said that the country’s geoscientists can help resolve prevailing controversy regarding the method of coal extraction.

Addressing as the chief guest at the inaugural session of six -day international conference on ‘Geo science for Global Development’ at the Osmani Auditorium, he said, “It is a duty of geoscientists to find out the best choice of Bangladesh in coal mining.” Association of Geoscientists for International Development (AGID), Bangladesh Geological Society (BGS), Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB), International Geo science Education Organisation (IGEO) and International Union of Geological Education (IUGS) jointly organised the conference.

State Minister for Power and Energy Enamul Huq said that geoscientists can help the government through their experience and knowledge in sectors like energy, mineral and water resources.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Mohammed Mohsin said that Global worming can be significantly reduced through sustainable environmental management by geoscientists.

About 500 geoscientists from 30 countries are participating in the conference.


Date: 27 October 2009, Bangladesh

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Challenges of Petrobangla New Chairman : Part 3

Posted by phulbarinews on November 2, 2009

Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque

72404412_338ea5535f_mDr. Hussein Mansur was made Chairman Petrobangla for few months at the last stage of Awami League Government of the last term. He is known as Awami League leaning intellectual. He was involved in the preparation of Awami League Election Pledges and was reportedly lobbying for the position since formation of Mahajote Government. He has good links with the highest level of the Bangladesh government. One hopes that he uses his links effectively to salvage Gas and Coal based energy sector from the brink of collapse. Mahajote Government has definite plan with him as it relied on him to deliver at this very critical stage of energy security.

Coal Exploration:

Apart from natural gas and gas liquid Petrobangla is also responsible for extraction and exploitation of other mineral resources – Coal, Hard Rocks etc. Two Petrobangla Companies are looking after two active mines at Dinajpoor. We have finite Natural Gas Reserve and resource potential may not be enough for our long term energy security. C But we have very high quality and less polluting coal reserve. According to independent estimate we have about 65 TCF equivalent Bituminous Coal in 5 discovered Coal mines. There is possibility of getting some more if explored properly. The coal seam at the largest mine at Jamalgonj is pretty deep while at Barapukuria and Phulbari the coal seam is between 15-500 Meter below surface. This multiseam coal resource is reasonably thick and is buried under soft silty water bound Dupitilla overburden. The entire coal belt spreads over 100 SqMiles and is mostly in Dinajpoor Rangpoor area. While the nation is busy talking about utilization of about 6-7 Tcf proven gas resource most of the 65 TCF equivalent Coal resource remains buried for a long time. Nation is locked in unnecessary debate over mining techniques, mining methods. Petrobangla does not have many active miners, no senior mining Engineer on job. Non miners mostly university teachers having no hands on experience of mining on energy sector have confused policy makers and successfully stalled all efforts to mine economically in Bangladesh. Bangladesh wasted 4 years in disputes and debates over coal policy.

Dr Mansur as PB Chairman having blessing of highest level of Government has to break the ice. The only active Bangladeshi Coal mine is bleeding. Underground Coal mining in shallow depth multi seam Coal mine with soft silty over burden that prevails at Barapukuria is a technical blunder – a crime. Bangladesh can ill afford to extract less than 10 % of recoverable coal from a mine in very unsafe and hugely expensive mining method. Moreover inevitable mine subsidence which eventually will require permanent relocation of all mine affected community has set in. In a recent site visit by a practising NRB mining engineer it appeared that further mining in Long wall Underground method beyond 2011 at Barapukuria will be a waste of time. Money and efforts. The present mining method with poor ventilation and in absence of standard Health, Safety and Environmental plan may cause catastrophic accident any time.

Dr Mansur was with us in Jamuna Resort in June 2006 during our NRB brain storming on Coal Mining strategy. We made specific recommendations on Barapukuria Mining and Coal policy. We hope he as Geologists could appreciate what we shared with Bangladeshi professionals and policy makers. If he needs further consultation we will volunteer to do that. But Chairman PB must be proactive for Coal mining.

There are proven techniques and technology how to conduct mining in similar geology, soil Condition and environment in Bangladesh. To achieve Millennium Development Goal Bangladesh needs to supply power to all its population. Bangladesh does have enough other alternative resources to fuel power generation. It has to explore and extract most of its coal sooner or later. It will take several years to aquire technology and financial capacity to carry out mining by its own expetrts . It has to engage leading mining companies who have technology to mine managing all associated impacts. Government has to relocate and rehabilitate all type of affected community – land and property owners, marginalised farmers, vulnerable group in proper manner. Dr Mansur must set the trend.

Many say Barapukuria is the ideal candidate for conducting surface mining on experimental basis. In this modern age when any sensible person can access relevant documents of the state of the art technology do we need experiment? Do we have time and money to still waste? We have seen from 3D model of Barapukuria that thickest coal seam is now lying below mine surface structure and Mine Mouth power plants. Are we planning to relocate power plants and demolish mine structure? Well this is major decision. Moreover fresh feasibility survey is going to take time.

While on the other hand another similar mine at Phulbari where some leading international companies have conducted extensive studies at detail feasibility stage is ready for mining. There may be some concerns about water management, Rehab issues. Experienced consultants can re-examine those. The scope for export and limit of royalty can be revisited. But in such a critical stage why government should seat on such a potential project?

Some people say expert Committee opined against it. Who were in the committee? The 8 of the 12 members did not agree with the remaining four – two University teachers, an accountant and one Petrobangla appointed Lawyer signed the so called expert committee report which did not analyse or discuss the TOR issues of the committee at all. Why not PB and government call all members of that expert committee and listen to the opinion of each individual? If that can be done by Government the veils of so called patriots will be exposed. The barriers to surface mining and Phulbari mining will be removed. We hope Dr Mansur will try to do that.

We hope that PB Chairman will voice his concern against continued use of polluting high sulphur Indian Coal in our brick fields. We can not understand why BELA, BAPA or BEN never talk about unhindered access of polluting Indian Coal in Bangladesh? Most of this coal comes through Shriakandi and Tamabeel Borders of Sylhet. We hope that our Syhlhetti Finance Minister and Energy Advisor to PM will stop entry of polluting coal through their neighbourhood soon.

Coal mining in Bangladesh in appropriate technology is the only feasible option now to confront energy crisis. Other options will never bring any relief in mid term – long term. Bangladesh can not afford to rely on expensive liquid fuel option for along term. Renewable source may not meet more than 10% in 20 years. Off shore gas will take at least 10 years to provide comfort. Bangladesh will get no steam coal from India for power generation.

PB Chairman must explore possibility of developing Dighipara Coal Mine under PPP with major mining Company selected in a transparent manner. We feel existing MOU with whatever company for Khalaspeer must be scrapped and PB could be given license to develop under PPP as well. Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) may be studied for Jamalgonj Coal mine as well under PB.


Date: 26 October 2009, Bangladesh

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Power, Coal Plants-Road shows mulled to woo investors

Posted by phulbarinews on November 2, 2009

Star Report

The government plans to stage road shows in London, New York and Singapore in early December to attract investors for several of its large power projects including 2,000-megawatt coal-fired power plants. The Power Development Board (PDB) sent a proposal in this regard to the power ministry earlier this month suggesting the show may be held in mid-November. “But now it looks like the shows cannot be held before early December,” said a top PDB official.

The power projects include four 500 MW coal-fired projects, Meghnaghat phase two 450 MW, Bibiyana phase two 450 MW and Bhola 150 MW projects. Officials at the shows would inform prospective investors about the government’s plans to set up more plants in the proposed Savar leather processing zone and Jaidevpur high-tech park. These plants would require more than $3 billion investment.

“The road shows in December will be the power sector’s largest overseas shows ever. Previously the government held a road show in Dhaka for the 450 MW Meghnaghat-1 plant back in 1996-97,” said the official. The road show will give prospective investors information about the government’s financial incentives for foreign investment, tax benefits and how their investment would be secured.

Power plant equipment price has come down to the decade’s lowest right now. So, it is a good time to push through the bids to bag cost effective deals involving high quality machinery, the sources pointed out. These projects represent a vital part of the government’s planned mid-term solution to power crisis beyond 2011. In the next five years, the government plans to implement 7,000 MW new power projects along with transmission and distribution lines. These would require around $10 billion investment.

The government aims at raising one fourth of this investment from local banks, and getting the rest from international financiers. Four study groups of the PDB have been working out details of the coal-fired and other power projects. So far the country has focussed on gas-based power projects. Implementing coal-fired projects demands that the PDB work out how coal would be purchased, supplied, transported and stored.

The PDB proposed that the coal should be of high quality to ensure least possible pollution. Such high quality coal may be imported from Indonesia. The PDB rules out Indian coal as it contains high level of sulphur. It is primarily estimated that the country would need one lakh tonnes of coal each month to generate 2,000 MW power. Such a huge quantity of coal would be imported through ships and transported through waterways.

Consequently, the sites selected for the plants– Khulna, Chittagong, Zazira and Rajshahi– are all located by major rivers and seashore. “We will need adequate environment and infrastructure support to ensure sound implementation of these projects,” said a PDB source.

The coal plants should be equipped with efficient and least pollutant machines like those currently used in India and Germany. We do not have ready-made knowledge about it. That is why we need to have a consultant to guide us through this process,” he said.


Date: 25 October 2009, Bangladesh

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