Twelve private plants that separate the liquid into individual products, such as diesel, petrol and octane have remained closed for several months due to a supply shortage of condensate from local gas fields and a High Court order on ensuring environment-friendly petroleum products.
The Petrochemical and Refiners Association recently appealed to the energy division to import diesel-rich condensate so that the closed plants could resume operation.
The Energy and Mineral Division then asked for Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation's (BPC) opinion regarding the scope of import and storage capacity.
In a bid to resume the operations of those plants, the government is mulling to import condensate, a mixture of light liquid hydrocarbons found as a byproduct of gas.
Md Anisur Rahman, senior secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, said that they are thinking of supplying the raw materials to the plants through imports.
Mentioning that they thinking about the issue considering investments in the sector, he said an observatory committee has been formed to oversee the imports of condensate for supply to the private refineries.
According to Petrochemical and Refiners Association of Bangladesh, a total of 15 private petroleum refineries have invested around Tk2,000 crore over the years, employing more than 5,000 people.
In January last year, the HC gave a verdict against harmful petroleum products and after the six months the production of condensate dropped at the local gas fields, prompting the authority to stop supplying condensate to 12 refineries.
As per the specifications set by the BSTI, refineries are supposed to produce petrol with 89 research octane numbers (RON). RON is a measurement of performance of gasoline. The higher the number is the greater resistance gasoline shows to early ignition.
Before the condensate supply suspension, the privately-owned plants could produce gasoline of 80 RON.
Three private and two state-owned refineries have been getting around 10,000 barrels of condensate produced daily at the country's gas fields as a byproduct. The amount is not sufficient even for these five refineries.
While talking about their opinion about import of condensate, Syed Mehdi Hasan, director (operations & planning) of the BPC, said that the corporation had informed the ministry of how much condensate it could store and the scope of import.
Saying that they are importing other fuel oil, he said they will surely import condensate if the ministry asked them to do so.
BDST: 1522 HRS, AUG 31, 2021