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18 February, 2020 12:07:16 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 February, 2020 02:46:30 PM
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Political clouts spike losses of gas companies

Say top officials of distribution and transmission firms
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Political clouts spike losses of gas companies

The increasing costly systemic losses of the gas transmission and distribution companies have been primarily attributed to unwarranted political influence at a high-level policy meeting. The meeting also observed that unless such undue political influence is restrained, such systemic losses in the gas sector cannot be lessened.  

At the meeting held at the Petrobangla headquarters yesterday, which the top officials from all the gas distribution and transmission companies attended, a directive was issued to curb the systemic losses within 2020. Thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money are lost each year on this account.  

The government, too, has issued the order to the top officials of the gas transmission and distribution companies to reduce their systemic loss as the costly imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is bleeding the government. Petrobangla chairman ABM Abdul Fattah presided over the meeting.

Sources present at the meeting said Fattah had issued a “strict directive” to the managing directors of the gas distribution companies to keep their gas connections in check and make sure a large pile of gas does not get lost systemically. Most of the systemic loss is the amount of gas the transmission and distribution companies lose out to illegal gas lines.

Interestingly, the systemic loss of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd (TGTDCL)—the largest gas transmission and distribution company—has increased dramatically in coincidence with the injection of the costly imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the national grid line, according to a provisional estimate obtained by The Independent.

The provisional data prepared by the company itself show that the systemic losses of Titas Gas were 11.58 per cent a month in March last year with LNG supplies hovering around 500 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day. In December 2018, the monthly systemic loss was 7.14 per cent when the LNG supply was around 300 mmcf. Before the injection of LNG into the national grid in August 2018, Titas Gas sustained a systemic loss of 1.3 per cent in June 2018. In 2017–18 FY, the average systemic loss of Titas was 1.41 per cent, according to official data.   

As per the Titas data, the country’s largest distribution company purchased 159.18 crore standard cubic metres

(SCM) of gas in March 2019 and sold 140.05 crore SCM, indicating a missing quantity of 14.81 crore SCM after taking into account a 2.2 per cent deduction as permissible systems loss.   

The 14.81 crore SCM of gas are worth

around Tk. 570 crore. A Petrobangla and Energy Division official said on condition of anonymity that the calculation of gas prices is based on the price of imported LNG, which is Tk. 39 per SCM.  

According to a 2018 Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) order, 2 per cent distribution loss is permissible for gas purchases through own transmission lines while 2.25 per cent is allowable as transmission and distribution losses for gas purchases through GTCL lines.

Talking with The Independent, Md Al Mamun, the managing director of TGTDCL, said he understood the predicament the government was facing because of the systemic loss in the gas sector. “We are currently incurring around six per cent system loss in Titas, which is way above the allowable system loss,” he said. “The problem is that whenever my teams go to cut illegal gas lines, they face difficulties from different quarters. Sometimes, I receive calls from influential quarters to overlook an illegal gas line. This has made the process of curbing systemic losses very difficult.”

Mamun, however, also said that in this Mujib Year, they are reiterating their vow to make the organisation as free of corruption as possible. “This is our commitment for the Mujib Year,” he iterated.

MK

 

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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