Orion power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Orion power station, also known as the Orion Power Unit-2 Dhaka Limited power station, is a proposed 700-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station, originally slated in Munshiganj District, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh, sponsored by the Orion Group.

The project is sometimes referred to as the Gazaria power station (Orion), although the project's siting appeared uncertain in 2022.

Other coal projects proposed in Munshiganj have included the Mawa power station (likely also known as the Orion Power Dhaka Limited (OPDL) power station), Munshiganj power station, and Gazaria power station (RPCL).


The map below shows the power station's original proposed location in Gazaria Upazila, Munshganj District.[1] As of 2022, the project's location was uncertain.

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In April 2016, a consortium of companies signed a power purchase agreement with Bangladesh Power Development Board to build a 635 MW plant in Gazaria, Munshiganj district. The project was part of a plan to install two coal-fired power plants in the Dhaka and Chittagong regions, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on September 29, 2013. The consortium comprised the Orion Group, Fujian Zhongde Energy, and UAE-based Firstgen Energy. Under the agreement, the Power Development Board would purchase electricity for 25 years at Tk5.86 per kWh. According to Orion Group Chairman Mohammad Obaidul Karim, a contract was signed with General Electric for boiler, turbine, and generator, and an EPC contract was signed with Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute. The project also received terms of reference approval for its EIA from the Department of Environment. The plant would use ultra-supercritical combustion technology.[2]

Power from the plant would be purchased by the Power Development Board at a levelised tariff of US$0.0837 or Tk 6.69 per kilowatt hour, though the tariff could decrease to between Tk 5.86 and Tk 6 "in the context of falling price of coal in the global market," according to an Orion Group official.[3]

According to various Orion Pharma Limited Integrated Annual Reports, two plants were proposed in Gozaria, Munshiganj:[4][5]

"Orion Power Dhaka Limited (OPDL) is the largest single unit coal based Ultra Super-Critical power plant in Bangladesh being implemented in Gozaria, Munshiganj under IPP basis with a net capacity of 630 MW (Gross 700 MW). Orion Group has adopted “Clean Coal Technology”, a collection of technologies including Flue Gas Desulphurization which has been developed to mitigate the environmental impacts and ensure zero emission to the atmosphere. Similar to OPDL, Orion Power Unit -2 Dhaka Limited is also one of the largest IPP based single unit coal based Ultra Super-Critical power plants being implemented in Gozaria, Munshiganj with a net capacity of 635 MW (Gross 700 MW)."

Only one Dhaka Orion unit appeared listed in the November 2018 government plan. The unit was planned for commissioning in 2022 under "High Case Studies" (and 2031 under "Low Case Studies").[6]

Another unit was listed as the "Maowa, Munshiganj 522 MW Coal Fired Power Project (Orion)" and may have been referring to the Orion Power Dhaka Limited (OPDL) unit. Additional information about the Mawa power station is available at the Mawa wiki.

Orion Power Unit -2 Dhaka Limited

Permitting process

As of October 2016, Orion Power was seeking environmental clearance for the 635 MW "Orion Power Unit 2 Dhaka Ltd" unit. Land for the project had been acquired in Gozaria and contracts had been signed with General Electric for equipment.[7] According to the Orion Power website, the unit was set to be 700 MW gross (635 MW net). The company said it had "started implementation of the project at site."[8]

The KUKE website listed a project titled "Engineering works and supply of equipment for Orion Power Unit-2 Coal based Thermal Power Plant in Dhaka, Bangladesh" with various pre-permitting materials it allegedly made public on September 20, 2019 (KUKE JSC is based in Poland and describes itself as a group of "experts in trade insurance and trade finance"):[9]

Based on these materials, AECOM completed an Environmental Impact Assessment for "Orion Power Unit-2 Dhaka Limited" in January 2018. At the time of the study, the project site was reportedly being developed by fill material (i.e., river bed sand) up to 2 meters "to raise the site elevation prior to commencement of project construction activities."[1]

As of December 2021, development at the proposed EIA site based on Planet satellite imagery from 2016 to 2021 was unclear.

The Orion Pharma Limited Integrated Annual Report for 2020-21 (released November 29, 2021) still referenced two units or plants: "The 630 MW Orion Power Dhaka Ltd. and the 635 MW Orion Power Unit -2 Dhaka Ltd. are two of the largest IPP based single unit coal based Ultra Super-Critical power plants being implemented in Munshiganj." Under Mr. Salman Obaidul Karim's profile, it noted: "He helped the Group win some of the largest contracts in its history, [including for] 1 Coal Fired Power generation Project of 635 MW (Under Construction)."[10]

Potential cancellation

On November 19, 2020, The Daily Star reported that Bangladesh's power, energy and mineral resources ministry had finalized an energy plan that cancelled all coal plants except five under construction. The Orion power station would likely be formally cancelled as a result.[11] However, this did not appear confirmed when the Bangladesh State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources announced other coal plant cancellations in June 2021.[12]

2022: Location reconsideration

According to BWGED in February 2022, the original expected commissioning date of the power plant was extended from June 2023 to December 2026. In addition, based on the progress report of BPDB (February 13, 2022), the Power Division recommended shifting the location of the power plant from Gazaria (Munshiganj) to alternative sites in Matarbari or other places in Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar.[13]


According to an October 2020 article, Orion Group was seeking a $906.17 million (Tk 7,684.32 crore) loan from the foreign-exchange (forex) reserve to set up the Orion Power Unit-2 Dhaka Ltd power station. Orion reportedly proposed to shore up only 20% of the US$1.1 billion (Tk 9,653.88 crore) project from its own sources, hoping the remaining 80% would come from the forex reserve, according to Rupali Bank documents in July 2020.[14]

According to a November 2021 article, Orion Power Unit-2 Dhaka Limited, Agrani Bank, and Janata Bank signed "a Syndication Project Loan Facility Agreement" on November 1, 2021. The two banks agreed to provide Tk 7,497 crore in debt financing, just less than the amount being sought by Orion, and equivalent to approximately US$870 million at that time.[15]

Cumulative impacts

According to the 2018 EIA, the IEL Consortium and Associate Limited of Orion group established the 100 MW Meghna Ghat Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) power plant about 5 km Northeast of the proposed site. Two additional thermal power plants were also in close proximity: a 450 MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant owned by AES Meghnaghhat Limited and a dual fuel 337 MW (net) power plant being developed by Summit Meghnaghat Power Company Limited (SMPCL). Four major cement plants were also located in the area.[1]

Gas plans

In October 2021, the Daily Sun reported the following:

"In June 2021, the government scrapped (...) Mawa 522 MW coal-fired power plant (...) owned by Orion Group. Then the government decided to convert [Orion Power Dhaka Ltd (OPDL)'s] 522MW Gazaria proposed coal-fired power plant [] to clean fuel RLNG or other renewable energy, officials said. OPDL submitted a proposal to BPDB about the “substitute” location for implementing the RLNG-based power plant, sources said. In the proposal, the OPDL said it will implement the plant with GE equipment and is interested to sign a Gas Supply Agreement with state-owned GTCL. The proposal said it may also implement the project with its own facility of Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) subject to approval. On October 10, 2021, the BPDB forwarded the proposal to the Power Division for allocating the substitute location at Moheskhali for Orion Power Plant. Power Plant will need around 30 acres of land at Moheskhali, officials said. On July 11, 2021, the Bay of Bengal Power Company Ltd decided to set up RLNG-based power plants replacing coal power plants, according to official sources. The government already decided not to implement any coal-fired plants at Maheskhali."[16]

It was unclear if the article was just referring to the cancelled 522 to 660 MW Mawa power station or also referencing the Orion power station.

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Orion Power Unit-2 Dhaka Limited
  • Parent company: Orion Group, Fujian Zhongde Energy Co Ltd, and Firstgen Energy FZE
  • Location: Munshganj District, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh
  • Coordinates: 23.588287, 90.569712 (approximate) (may relocate based on recent news)
  • Status: Pre-permitted
  • Gross Capacity: 700 MW
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical
  • Projected in service: 2022 to 2031
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Australia, Indonesia (via Chittagong Port)[1]
  • Source of financing: US$870 million in debt financing from Agrani Bank and Janata Bank

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Environmental Impact Assessment Study: 635 MW Coal based Thermal Power Plant, Munshiganj District, Bangladesh," Volume III - Baseline and Impact Assessment (Chapter 8-11), AECOM India Private Limited, January 2018
  2. "Munshiganj to see 635MW coal power plant," munshigonj24, April 22, 2016
  3. "Orion signs deal for 635MW coal-fired power plant in Munshiganj," Energy Central, April 24, 2016
  4. "Integrated Annual Report 2018-2019," Orion Pharma Ltd., November 30, 2019
  5. Integrated Annual Report 2018," Orion Pharma Ltd., November 27, 2018
  6. 2016 Master Plan "Revisited", Bangladesh Power Division, November 2018
  7. "Public meeting held for coal-based power plant in Munshiganj," Dhaka Tribune, October 15, 2016
  8. "Orion Power Dhaka Unit-2 Ltd.," Orion Group, accessed June 2019
  9. "Projects notified ex-ante," KUKE, accessed December 2021
  10. Integrated Annual Report 2020-2021," Orion Pharma Ltd., November 29, 2021
  11. "Future not coal power," The Daily Star, November 19, 2020
  12. "10 coal-fired power projects scrapped as part of master plan revision," UNB, June 27, 2021
  13. Hasan Mehedi, "Update on the Coal Power Plants in Bangladesh: Feb 2022," BWGED, February 2022
  14. "Target forex reserve," The Daily Star, October 28, 2020
  15. "Orion Group to get syndicate loan for coal-based power generation," The Busines Standard, November 2, 2021
  16. "6 more coal power plants to be scrapped," Daily Sun, October 25, 2021

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