Powering into the Bangladesh market

Construction of Bangladesh's largest power plant is well underway, with Keller combining strengths from India and Malaysia to deliver the group's first ground engineering project in the country.

 Keller undertaking foundation work for Bangladesh's largest power plant

Keller undertaking foundation work for Bangladesh's largest power plant

The 1,320MW coal-powered plant is being built on more than 1,800 acres of land in the southwest of the country and is funded by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company - a joint venture between the Indian and Bangladeshi governments.

"This is a huge, important project for the country and the tender was an excellent opportunity for us to break into a new market," said Keller India's Saday Mishra, general manager (North and West).

"The qualifying criteria for the tender were extremely high. But through Keller's global strength we were able to demonstrate to the main contractor, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, that we have the right expertise and techniques, as well as being competitive on price."

Keller India teamed up with colleagues in Malaysia, who are experienced in driven piling - a key technique for the job. The scope includes more than 7,000 precast driven piles (350mm and 450mm diameter) and almost 2,000 bored piles (760mm and 900mm diameter), along with substantial earthworks (155,000m³). This involves 8m-deep excavations with sheet piles used as earth retention, along with mass concreting (40,000m³).

Scheduled to take 20 months in total, the project began in December 2017, with Keller on target to complete their section of works later this year. It is a significant undertaking, and with a crew of more than 750 people, logistics is one of the most challenging aspects.

Equipment and people were mobilised from both India and Malaysia, via road and sea, to the remote site. "The market in Bangladesh is still developing," said Saday. "Any spares for the machinery have to come from India, so maintaining our equipment has proved difficult.

"We've faced high levels of rainfall throughout the monsoon season and the site's also close to a river, with a water table almost at ground level. Added to that, there are soft sands and clays up to 30-40m. Despite the challenges, our teams are working seamlessly together and we're well on track to complete on time.

"This project shows that our clients can trust us to deliver a range of foundation solutions even on remote sites with challenging conditions. Bangladesh is underdeveloped, so there are lots of opportunities for infrastructure projects that will support the people of the country.

"Securing this high-profile project has been very important for us. We look forward to growing within Bangladesh."