A Ghastly Idea

Experts Warn that Decision to Built LNG Depot at Bali’s Port of Benoa is Ill-Advised

Plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Benoa Harbor is raising alarm and criticism from concerned experts and academics warning the project could threaten the ecosystem of the surrounding mangrove forest. As reported by Beritabali.com, a leading professor form the Surabaya Institute of Technology (ITS) Professor Dr. Ketut Buda Artana and Udayana University’s Professor Dr. Nyoman Merit have separately issued opinions warnings that suggest the proposed LNG storage facility would be better located in North Bali at the Port of Celukan Bawang in Buleleng.

Professor Buda, who teaches Technical Shipping Systems in the Maritime Faculty at ITS. explained that his university had undertaken a study in cooperation with a natural gas company in 2005 seeking the best location in Bali for the construction of a LNG storage facility. In reviewing the Port of Benoa that study determined that the narrow sea entrance to the port represented an unacceptable risk for the coming and going of LNG tanker ships. The port entrance is located a short distance from the major tourist area of Tanjung Benoa and under the take-off and landing pattern of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

In outlining the risk, Professor Buda also highlighted the significant tidal flows in the area that represent a special challenge to ship’s operations. The 2005 study determined that any effort to dredge and widen the port’s entrance would prove financially untenable. A review of the Pertamina depot in Manggis, Karangasem highlighted exposed sea conditions and the regularity of large waves as an obstacle to the construction of an LNG storage facility in that location. “The most appropriate place for building a depot for LNG is the port of Celukan Bawang in Buleleng.

The port is open, safe and, most importantly contributes to a more even distribution of development as Buleleng seldom benefits from big projects,” said Professor Buda. The ITS academic pointed out that building the LNG depot in Celukan Bawang would be in keeping with the master zoning pan for Bali (RTRW) that designated the northern port area for industrial purposes. What’s more, he said, the Port of Celukan Bawang is a natural harbor that is largely calm year round allowing ships to berth, protected by surrounding shores and mountains.

Buda said that upgrading the infrastructure at Celukan Bawang conforms with future plans of the Joko Widodo government to improve the delivery of energy resources to eastern Indonesia. The maritime expert explained how smaller ships could be used to safely carry supplies of LNG from Celukan Bawang to south Bali and Benoa for use by the Pesanggaran Power Generating Plant. The chairman of the Conservation Laboratory for Land and Sea in the Agricultural faculty of Bali’s Udayana University, Professor Dr. Nyoman Merit, said all large government projects should be built to conform to the zoning master plan (RTRW).

“Clearly, Benoa is intended to be a tourism port, don’t go changing these plans and designations,” he said. Professor Merit is worried that the construction of an LNG depot at the Port of Benoa will threaten mangrove coastal areas. He said that even before a project of the size proposed for the LNG depot is commenced, there is widespread pollution in Benoa Bay, much of it emanating from the excavations connected to the Bal Mandara Toll road and other sources of local pollution.

Merit took pains to say he was not opposed to an LNG depot for Bali, but only wanted to see a more viable and environmentally friendly location than the Port of Benoa. On this point, echoing the comments of Professor Buda, he urged that the Port of Celukan Bawang should be considered for the LNG Depot.

source : bali discovery tours

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