Mon, Jun 17 2024 17 June, 2024

Record heatwave in Bangladesh make LNG, power generation surge

Bangladesh recently generated its record highest volume of electricity and re-gasified maximum LNG to meet sweltering temperature demands during heatwaves.

Rickshaw-pullers try to shelter from scorching temperatures during a heatwave in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Photo credit: Gas Outlook/Aziz Rahman)

Bangladesh has experienced the longest heatwave in a single year this year, recording the highest temperature of the past five decades, causing the deaths of dozens of people from heat strokes, official data reveals.

Schools and colleges and some universities were shut during the severe heatwaves to save vulnerable students from the health dangers of extreme heat.   

According to official data from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the South Asian country started experiencing a mild heatwave in the northwest from the first day of April, which went from scorching to severe and very severe with the passing of days, and persisted until May 5th, before showering with rain.

The country previously recorded 25 days of heatwave as the longest spell on record — during the summer of 2014 — according to BMD data available since 1948.

Bangladesh generated its record highest volume of electricity and re-gasified maximum LNG to meet the sweltering temperature demands during the heatwaves.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society activated its early action protocol for heatwaves for the first time in the country on April 28th as a consequence.

Amid the severe heatwave, the capital Dhaka recorded its highest temperature in 54 years, reaching 40.7 degrees Celsius on April 28th, according to the BMD.

Meanwhile Bangladesh recorded the highest temperature in 50 years at 43.8 degrees celsius in the southwestern Jashore district on April 30th, according to the BMD.

Over 42 degrees celsius is considered as a very severe heatwave, while between 40-41.9 degrees celsius is considered as severe and 38-39.9 degrees celsius as moderate, while 36-37.9 degrees celsius is mild in Bangladesh, according to the BMD.

At least 15 people died from heat strokes during the heatwaves between April 22nd and May 5th, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The DGHS started recording heatstroke-related deaths for the first time in Bangladesh on April 22nd.

But the actual number of people dying of heat strokes and other heat-related illness could be higher as the DGHS started keeping records only after the passage of 21 days of heatwave in Bangladesh, said Dr Tanveer Zaman, a senior physician at the country’s leading private hospital, Square Hospital.

Besides, the DGHS surveillance does not cover private healthcare facilities, which outnumber government ones, he added.

The BMD, however, issued heat alerts several times during the heatwaves.

Bangladesh generated its record highest electricity at 16,477 MW on the evening of April 30th — which was 244 MW above the previous all-time high of 16,233 MW recorded around a week earlier on April 22nd, to meet the mounting heatwave demand, according to the national load dispatch centre (NLDC) of the state-owned Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB).

The country’s state oil and gas company Petrobangla re-gasified 1.085 bcf/d of LNG on April 25th, the highest volume since LNG imports began on April 24th, 2018, to feed natural gas to industries, power plants and other consumers during the heatwaves, according to the official data of Petrobangla.

Despite the high generation of electricity, the country experienced power outages and load shedding across the country with particular intensity in rural areas, as demand soared significantly in the scorching summer heat.

The NLDC data revealed that the country underwent a shortfall of 3196 MW at 2 pm on April 29th amid the sweltering heat.

Bangladesh is currently importing a maximum number of LNG cargoes from the spot market to cope with the growing summer demand.

It has planned to import five spot LNG cargoes during each of the months of May and June to satisfy consumers, said a senior Petrobangla official.

Both the country’s floating storage and re-gasification units (FSRUs) owned by U.S.-based Excelerate Energy and the local Summit Group are now operational.

Overall LNG re-gasification might increase further in line with surging demand as the capacity was raised by 10% to 1,100 MMcf/d following the overhauls of both the FSRUs this year, he said.

The capacity of Excelerate Energy’s FSRU – known as Excellence — was increased to 600 MMcf/d in January of this year from its previous capacity of 500 MMcf/d along with its overhaul, he added.

Petrobangla has supplied over 1.40 bcf/d of gas, the highest ever volume so far, to power plants to meet the mounting power demand during the heatwaves, Petrobangla’s director of operations and mines Kamruzzaman Khan said.

A couple of months back Petrobangla supplied around 900 MMcf/d of gas to power plants, according to official data.

To cope with the rising power and energy demands, the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources urged shopping mall and commercial establishment owners to shut operations by 8pm to ease electricity demands during peak hours.

It also requested to keep the temperature of air conditioners at 25 degrees celsius or above, and to use energy-efficient appliances to prevent the wasting of electricity.