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Gas supply shortage hits textile, apparel sector badly

At a time when the country’s textile and apparel sector is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and working with over work orders, the gas supply shortage has hit the production badly leaving exporters in severe trouble.

Exporters are fearing delays in shipment if the present situation continues or further worsens in the coming days as the industry needs an uninterrupted supply of gas and the textile and washing sector are highly dependent on gas.

Bangladesh-Gas-supply-shortage-textile-apparel
Figure: Gas supply shortage has hit the production badly leaving exporters in severe trouble. Courtesy: Collected

Industry people are facing a gas crisis because of the severe crisis of gas for overhauling at the Bibiyana gas field.

The country’s gas production drastically fell by around 450 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) on April 3 due to a technical fault developed in the Bibiyana gas field.

Due to the crisis, the gas pressure came down from 1 pound per square inch (PSI) to 2 PSI but the requirement was 15 PSI to 20 PSI for keeping the production in the mills to ensure the supply of yarns and fabrics.

Factories located in Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia, Shreepur, Dhaka, Narayanganj, Narsingdi and Bhaluka suffered the most due to the crisis.

As a result, textile millers are in fear of failure to supply raw materials for the readymade garment sector as they already suffered a production halt.

“Textile millers have been suffering from the gas crisis for months, which deteriorated in the first week of April. As a result, most of the major textile mills remained shut for five to six days because of the severe gas crisis,” Mohammad Ali, President of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), told Textile Today.

As the production has already hit, we fear that the miller likely would not be able to supply fabrics in time, which could have impacts on the exports of apparel, said Ali.

Though, the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources assured us that the crisis will be resolved soon. But it turned acute over the past one week, said the business leader.

Right now, the urgent call from the textile sector is to take necessary steps to improve the production of gas and ensure uninterrupted supply for the sake of industry, he added.

In the given context, apparel exporters are on a tightrope to manage the lead time.

“As of now, most of the exporters have enough work orders, even more than the capacity. But we are not getting enough supply of fabrics due to the gas crisis. That is why gripped manufacturers as they are fearsome to ensure timely shipment of goods,” Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) executive president Mohammad Hatem told the Textile Today.

“We are working with full capacity, which will help us to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. But disruption in production caused by the gas crisis would be a great loss to turnaround from fallout,” Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan told Textile Today.

As the sector is getting a good response from the buyers for the upcoming with increased work orders flow, the government urgently addressed the crisis to avert further crisis, said Hassan, also Managing Director of Giant Group.

In attaining the $50 billion exports from goods and to retain the present growth, we need uninterrupted gas supply in the industry, he added.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh’s exports earning during the July-March period of the fiscal year 2021-22 increased by 33.41 percent to $38.60 billion against $28.93 billion in the same period a year ago.

However, there is hope as the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid assured industry people of resolving the gas crisis soon saying that arrival of the LNG-carrying cargo vessel will improve the supply.

“A sudden problem at the Bibiana gas field caused low pressure of gas in some parts of the country from the first day of Ramadan. An LNG-carrying cargo was arranged immediately to resolve the crisis. 2,950 MMFCD LNG filled cargo will arrive at Chittagong port tomorrow at 7 am,” wrote Nasrul Hamid in his verified Facebook post.

He also thanked the tireless work of experienced engineers to overcome this crisis. Now, the Bibiana gas field is producing 1,100 million cubic feet of gas.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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