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Bangla textile industry stares at gas shortage
Dec '15
As Bangladesh faces a gas shortage, Prime Minister's adviser Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury has urged textile industry leaders to use alternative fuel like diesel for running their respective captive power units as there is little possibility of raising the country's gas supply within the next two years.

“You (captive generator) can use imported low-priced diesel for next two years as gas supply through LNG will be increased by that time,” Chowdhury said at a seminar on 'Energy Efficiency and Textile: Lifeline of the Economy' organised by the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) in Dhaka.

As exporters, they will get duty drawback but they need to identify the way how to administer and BTMA can take the lead role in this regard, he said assuring the industry of the government's support.

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) floating terminal is being set up and an additional 500 mmcf gas to 600 mmcf would be added after two years, Chowdhury said describing the government's other moves including exploration of 10 wells.

He advised the millers to increase their efficiency level at least to 60 per cent.

BTMA President Tapan Chowdhury said textile millers are resorting to energy efficiency devices through co-generation process and other means to get maximum output from use of gas.

“Efficiency level is found to exceed over 80 per cent in this case,” he said adding the present grid line has not yet reached a level which can assure 100 per cent reliable power supply without disruption.

“Till such time, we deserve to get gas supply for our uninterrupted production at reasonable rate not to jeopardise our competitiveness,” he said demanding gradual approaches in raising tariff giving the industry time and space to adjust with the changes.

Textile millers have invested hugely in gas-based captive power plants as the government was not able to supply adequate power to the industrial plants, he said.

Chowdhury said the sector has been put in a disadvantageous position in recent times due to the increases in minimum wage and gas tariffs for captive generators, which the textile millers and spinners use.

Last year, the government hiked the gas price to Tk 8.36 per cubic metre from Tk 4.18 per cubic metre for the textile sector, giving the excuse that millers and spinners were wasting precious gas by running captive power plants. The government is mulling further increases early next year, according to industry insiders.

AK Azad, Managing Director of Hameem Group, said diesel is not cost-effective alternative for captive power generators.

“We want guarantee that after two years, gas supply will be increased,” he said and pointed out that in reality, the government is not able to keep its promises within the timeframe.

The industry also wants a roadmap regarding power supply and assurance for existing and future investment, he said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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