May 11, 2023 [The Financial Express]- All is set for Bangladesh’s maiden single-point mooring (SPM) system to begin piping petroleum from vessels far offshore into onshore storage tanks, thus slashing both time and cost of oil import.
The formal launch is set for next month, as construction of the SPM including installation of ‘boya’ deep offshore, has almost been completed, chairman of the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) ABM Azad told the FE.
The petroleum corporation has already decided to import a significantly higher quantity of crude oil for operation of the high-speed transportation faculty, that is, SPM.
“Bangladesh will be able to save around Tk 8.0 billion annually only by reducing transportation cost of petroleum products from outer anchorage to onshore fuel tankers once the SPM project gets going,” says Mr Azad.
The BPC is implementing the project at a cost of around Tk 65.68 billion, with China’s assistance.
Of the total project cost, the government is providing around Tk 12.19 billion, BPC spending around Tk 6.85 billion and the remaining around Tk 46.63 billion is coming in project aid.
As part of the project works, a 220- kilometre pipeline, most of which is laid in the Bay of Bengal waters, has already been set up.
Construction works of the fuel- pumping stations and six fuel-storage tanks are also complete.
The storage tanks have the capacity to store around 240,000 tonnes of petroleum products in total: 150,000 tonnes of crude oil and 90,000 tonnes of diesel.
China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd (CPP) is building the maiden SPM system for oil porting in Bangladesh.
Titled ‘Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) with Double Pipeline’, the project is being implemented with Chinese concessional loan worth around US$554 million.
Of the total loan amount, China is providing $467.84 million as preferential buyer’s credit and the remaining $82.5 million as soft loan.
Exim Bank of China is providing the money to be repaid within 20 years at an interest rate of 2.0 per cent per annum, with a five-year grace period.
Currently, BPC cannot offload imported petroleum products at its Chattogram storage tanks directly. Large tankers anchor in deep- sea area and smaller vessels unload the petroleum products and bring the fuels to onshore storage facilities.
The BPC pays around US$5.50 per tonne to lighterage or small vessels owned mainly by the state-owned Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) to ferry petroleum products to BPC’s onshore tanks from larger mother vessels at outer anchorage.
It takes up to seven days to offload oil from tankers and the BPC very often has to pay fines for time overrun.
After installation of the SPM it will be possible to offload 120,000 tonnes of crude oil within 48 hours and 70,000 tonnes of diesel within 28 hours.
“The SPM will save BPC around $8 per tonne by eliminating the vessel transfers,” says a senior BPC official.
The SPM’s capacity to offload petroleum products will be around 9.0 million tonnes per annum.
Officials of BPC will be able to unload petroleum from a 100,000- deadweight-tonnage tanker within 48 hours, which now takes 11 days.
“No lighterage vessel will be required to carry fuel from mother vessel, which is to be moored at the outer anchorage, after implementation of the project,” the BPC chairman said.
Bangladesh annually imports around 7.0 million tonnes of crude and refined oils combined, of which around 1.5 million tonnes are crude and the remainder refined.
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