A delayed move to hire a consultant has pushed back the process for selecting a qualified bidder for the country’s maiden land-based LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal project at Matarbari in Maheshkhali of Cox’s Bazar, energy industry sources say.
According to sources, the government in January last year invited bids seeking Expression of Interest (EoI) from international companies to build a LNG terminal with floating storage and re-gasification and storage unit (FSRU) capacity of 7.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MTA).
As per the project proposal, a private sector sponsor will set up the LNG terminal on Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis once it is selected by the developer — Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL).
The move for LNG terminal came as part of the government’s plan to increase the import of natural gas to resolve its shortage that has specially been impeding industrialisation and power generation.
Under the move, the RPGCL, a subsidiary of the state-owned Petrobangla, received bids from 12 international companies in March last year.
A technical evaluation committee was formed headed by a director of Petrobangla to shortlist the technically and financially capable companies for the project. But the committee’s works remained stuck up as it failed to submit its report, said the sources.
“Despite passing of more than one and a half years, the committee could not submit its evaluation report to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division,” said a top official of the RPGCL, declining to be named.
“Actually, there was a flaw in the process that ultimately delayed the government’s move for the LNG project,” he said explaining that normally when the government conceives an idea for a new project where it does not have enough expertise, it first appoints a consultant and goes for feasibility study.
If the feasibility study gives positive outlook, then the consultant prepares necessary documents on the basis of the study report and floats an international tender.
“But in this case, before appointing a consultant and feasibility study, the government directly moved for sponsor selecting process which came as “putting the cart before the horse”.
RPGCL officials said recently the government realised its mistake and moved for appointing a consultant.
Official sources said Petrobangla primarily selected Japanese company Tokyo Gas Co Ltd as consultant for the project.
When approached, Petrobangla Director Quamruzzaman said the appointment of consultant is still under process.
At present, two LNG terminals with FSRU capacity of 3.75 million tonnes per year are in operation in Moheshkhali and re-gasify around 550 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), although they have capacity of re-gasification of 1,000 mmcfd.
The country’s total gas production and supply is about 3,100 mmcfd against the demand of 4,000 mmcfd.
Economists believe the country’s demand for gas supply will go up in the coming days with implementation of gas-based power plants and establishment of 100 economic zones now drawn up by the government to promote industrialisation.
Recently, the government moved to revise its Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2016 to increase the share of gas in power generation reducing the share of coal as primary energy source.
As per the existing PSMP 2016, the country’s power generation will reach 24,000MW in 2021, 40,000MW in 2030 and 60,000MW in 2041.
In this case, gas and LNG will share 35 percent in primary energy source for power generation. The share for coal is 35 percent, renewable 15 percent, nuclear 10 percent and petroleum oil 5 percent.
Sources said the Power Division put forward a proposal to the government’s policy level to convert some of the power plants which earlier planned to be coal-based into LNG-based considering the environmental issues as gas is considered to be cleaner than coal.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Tuesday said that it has been forced to halt its India operations after the government froze several of the organisation’s bank accounts.
The watchdog has also accused the government of indulging in a "witch-hunt of human rights organisations", reports BBC.
Amnesty says its bank accounts have been frozen and it's been forced to lay off staff in the country, and suspend all its campaign and research work.
“The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt,” the organisation said in a statement on its website, reports Hindustan Times.
The government is yet to respond to the allegations.
Amnesty further claimed that it has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all ongoing campaign and research work.
“For a movement that has done nothing but raise its voices against injustice, this latest attack is akin to freezing dissent,” said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India.
The statement also claimed that Amnesty India stands in full compliance with all applicable Indian and international laws.
"We are facing a rather unprecedented situation in India. Amnesty International India has been facing an onslaught of attacks, bullying and harassment by the government in a very systematic manner," Rajat Khosla, the group's senior director of research, advocacy and policy, told the BBC.
"This is all down to the human rights work that we were doing and the government not wanting to answer questions we raised, whether it's in terms of our investigations into the Delhi riots, or the silencing of voices in Jammu and Kashmir."
In a report released last month, the group said police in the Indian capital, Delhi, committed human rights violations during deadly religious riots between Hindus and Muslims in February.
Rebutting the claims, the Delhi police told The Hindu newspaper that Amnesty's report was "lopsided, biased and malicious".
Earlier in August, on the first anniversary of the revocation of Indian-administered Kashmir's special status, Amnesty had called for the release of all detained political leaders, activists and journalists, and for the resumption of high-speed internet services in the region.
In 2019, the watchdog testified before the US Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing on human rights in South Asia, where it highlighted its findings on arbitrary detentions, and the use of excessive force and torture in Kashmir.
Amnesty has also repeatedly condemned what it says is a crackdown on dissent in India.
Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd says will set up state-of–the-art base oil refinery in Bangladesh to help the country become self-reliant in lubricants production.
Lub-rref says it also wants to export after meeting the domestic demands as global demands are rising driven by the growth of the automotive production.
The company’s founder Managing Director Mohammed Yousuf shared his vision during a meeting with journalists at the factory premises in Chittagong on September 26.
Currently, the local demand for lubricant is 1.2 lakh MT, of which 1.04 lakh tonnes are imported. Bangladesh produces only 0.16 MT.
“Around 85 percent of total demand is supplied through imports and foreign brands dominate the domestic market. Lub-rref wants to break the domination of foreign brands and make Bangladesh self-reliant,” said Yousuf.
There is an ample opportunity to replace the foreign brand by a national brand “BNO Lubricants” for the greater interest of local industries, he said.
As a result, in the last few years, Lub-rref has put utmost efforts to introduce advanced technology and acquiring technical know-how, skill development and setting up in R&D Laboratory, he said.
On top of that, for reducing foreign dependency on import of base fluid for lubricants, Lub-rref is going to set up State-Of-The-Art Base Oil Refinery, the first of its kind in Bangladesh. It will increase production capacity to meet local demand from domestic sources, said Yousuf.
This will cost Tk 400 crore, of which about Tk 100 crore will be spent from funds to be collected through Initial Public Offering (IPO). To get required funds, the company will collect Tk 150 crore from the stock markets and already got approval from the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) to discover the cut-off price.
As per estimation, it will further provide employment opportunities to many and make workers proficient in handling world class technology, said Yousuf. On the other hand, this project will be 70,000 MT per annum capacity. Overall, it will reduce dependency on imports and might as well help to export in future, he adds.
Gradually, it also will set up Tank Terminal along with a berth operating jetty, Bitumen plant, Hydrogen Plant and Power Plant. For its relentless efforts in ensuring quality and maintaining international standards, Lub-rref has received certification and approval from global giants in machinery and car manufacturers.
Considering local & International Market, under the "BNO Lubricants" brand Lub-rref (Bangladesh) Ltd. has also got approval on Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’S) approval from the world most prestigious equipment manufacturers like BMW, VOLVO, SCANIA & WARTSILA etc.
Since the company has global and domestic certification and international standard quality, it eyes export after meeting the local demands. “We’re the first company who put all of our efforts to open export permission and put our efforts to open the Lube Oil industry for the private sector,” said Yousuf.
“Our efforts in these regards enable to set up a world-class lubricants industry and export to Nepal, Myanmar and Eastern provinces of India for the first time ever in Bangladesh’s history,” he added.
The growing automotive sector and industrial production have led to an enhanced demand for lubricants. The motor vehicles, power and the marine sector in these regions have a high share in the lubricants market. Asia’s emerging markets including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and the China is the largest for lubricants comprising more than 56 percent of the total Asia-Pacific market.
Lub-rref has established a reputation for unmatched technical support and liaison with the end customers ensuring correct choice and applications of lubricants. The company also cares highly about the environment where they work and their lubricants industry are environment-friendly and generate no waste.
“With four decade’s sound knowledge and expertise in the field of lubricants and greases Lub-rref is now reaching for greater achievements to add to its already remarkable success story with the vision to become a pioneer in creating a greener alternative in the lubricants industry,” said Yousuf.
The company has adopted modern green technologies for growth and sustainability, he added.
BNO Lubricants, a brand name of Lub-rref has introduced Nynas Technology based transformer oil and NanoTechnology lubricants to minimize carbon emission and ensure longevity of engines. Nano Technology for lubricants help attain fuel efficiency, more power, extend the life of engines and reduce emissions, and add mileage to end users.
After the grand success of IGNITE, Brac University Business Club (BIZ BEE) has come up with Yamaha presents ‘Casessination’ — An Inter-University 360 degree Online Case Competition.
Yamaha Motorcycles Bangladesh — ACI Motors Ltd was the sponsor of this competition, powered by Paban and organised by BIZ BEE.
Moreover, the competition was divided in three bouts, where round one was Taming the Tide (Aug 14-21), round two was The Whiplash - The Next Clash, (Aug 23 onwards), and the final round was The Casessination - Showdown of the finest blades to become the very first Casessin of the nation, (Sep 3 onwards).
The participants were given cumbersome challenges, put under immense pressure, and inspected hermetically by the judges, with each level having to face even a harder task.
Through these phases, their analytical ability, coping skills, and creative strategy were put under the eye of scrutiny.
After a week-long battle, the winner emerged. The winners were announced via a Facebook post on Sept 21 by judges M Mujibul Haque, Md Robiul Haque, and Sumit Saha.
Champions were given Tk 30,000, First Runner up Tk 20,000, and the Second Runner up Tk 10,000. The champions were hailed as ‘Golden Snitch’, 1st Runner-Up ‘Kevin's Chili’, and 2nd Runner-up ‘Team Dothraki’.
Furthermore, 257 teams from all around the country participated officially in Yamaha ‘Casessination 2020’, but the number of reach or the teams does not conclude the success story.
An eminent share to successfully pull off this grand competition goes to the teams and each club member of BIZ BEE who have worked behind the scenes ceaselessly and turned it into prevalence.
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The World Bank has approved $200 million to help Bangladesh improve access to safe water and sanitation services in rural areas.
The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development Project will help about 600,000 people avail safe and clean water through large and small piped water schemes in rural areas, said a press release issued by World Bank on Friday.
It will also provide access to improved sanitation services to over 3.6 million rural people.
Through providing better access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities at homes and in public places and motivating people to adopt proper handwashing practices, the project will help prevent diseases and protect from infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, it will address urgent WASH needs during the COVID 19 pandemic in a quick and timely way.
“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in providing access to basic water supply to all and end open-defecation. However the quality of water and sanitation and the link between safe water and sanitation and human capital development remains a challenge,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“This project will provide clean water and sanitation services that will reduce diarrheal diseases, improve nutrition, health, and reduce stunting among children under five, and especially benefit those in vulnerable groups. This will help the country to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth.”
In rural areas, only about 3 percent households had piped water connections in 2017. In addition to investing in large and small piped schemes, the project will facilitate loans for households to improve their water and sanitation facilities and for the local WASH entrepreneurs expand their business. Furthermore, to ensure the quality and sustainability of the piped water schemes and fecal sludge management, the project will train the local entrepreneurs.
In crowded public spaces—such as markets, bus stations and community clinics—the project will set up about 2,514 handwashing stations with overhead tanks for running water, drainage, and sanitation facilities, which will be equipped with soaps.
“Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts. Extreme weather events and climate change affect the WASH sector by reducing drinking water quality and availability,” said Rokeya Ahmed, World Bank Senior Water Specialist and Team Leader for the project.
“The project will build climate-resilient water and sanitation facilities and improve fecal sludge management to reduce contamination of surface water and groundwater.”
In Bangladesh, about one in every four women use appropriate menstrual materials; the low usage rate leads to infection and often prevents girls from attending school. The project will facilitate micro-finance loans to about 150 female entrepreneurs to sell sanitary napkins at the doorsteps. It will also promote women’s representation and leadership in water management committees at the community level. The project will cover 78 Upazilas in Mymensingh, Rangpur, Chittagong, and Sylhet Divisions.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over $13.5 billion. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed more than $31 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to the country since its Independence.