Major boost in local octane production
SGFL to meet half the country’s demand by July producing octane from condensate
Sylhet Gas Field Company (SGFL), that started producing octane in November last year by converting a natural gas by-product, is set to meet a half of the country’s octane demand from June-July.
This will save a huge amount of foreign currency, especially in the context of international price of oil shooting beyond $100 per barrel. It will also add a lot of value to locally produced condensate, which is a by-product of natural gas, especially in the Sylhet region.
The country’s annual demand for octane is 1.2 lakh tonnes.
The SGFL started producing 2,500 barrels (3,000 tonnes) of octane, petrol, diesel and kerosene a day by setting up a Fractionation Plant in Rashidpur.
This translates into an annual production of more than one lakh tonnes of petroleum products. Other than octane, the plant is producing around 10,000 tonnes of petrol, 25,000 tonnes of kerosene, and 25,000 tonnes of diesel annually.
“By June-July next, we expect to expand our capacity by fifty percent,” said Tofazzal Hossain, managing director of the company.
In addition to SGFL, the Eastern Refinery Company Ltd (ERL) is also producing 40,000 tonnes of octane annually by processing imported crude oil and thus saving foreign exchange.
The remaining one-third of octane demand is met by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s (BPC) direct import.
Energy Secretary Mesbahuddin Ahmed said, “In future we expect that we would not need to import octane.” In addition to government run Sylhet Gas Field Company, and Eastern Refinery, several private entrepreneurs are also getting involved in octane production, he added.
SGFL uses a chemical “octane booster” with the condensate to convert it into petrol or octane. Presently, it has two months of stock of this chemical and the company is processing tender for purchasing future chemical supplies.
SGFL sources say the experience of the company in supplying the petroleum products to BPC has so far been smooth and it has been following a monthly chart.
Until this venture was launched, condensate was being used for producing Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) by a government plant in Kailashtila, and some private producers.
Since the mid 1990s, thieves realised the value of condensate and repeatedly bore holes in the gas pipelines in many places between Sylhet and Ashuganj to steal condensate.
This not only drained huge resources every year, but also caused occasional huge fire and supply disruption in the gas pipeline. The most recent such incident took place in Sylhet last week.