The countrywide ongoing load shedding will not last long as the second unit of Payra Thermal Power Station and Rampal Power Plant will start operation, and 1600 MW electricity will also be imported from India this year.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid made the disclosure in a statement. He also requested everyone to be economical in using gas and electricity.
Explaining the current situation of power and energy, Nasrul Hamid said, "The effects of the global epidemic Covid-19 have been felt everywhere for more than two years. The Russia-Ukraine war has plunged the world into a deep crisis just as everyone was recovering from the Covid-19 attack.
“This crisis has affected not only developing countries but also many developed countries as well. The effects of the war have made the fuel market extremely unstable. The international food market is also volatile. This global crisis has put us in danger," his statement read.
“Bangladesh has recently achieved a unique milestone of $52 billion in exports. Our industrialization has surpassed all the times of the past due to uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity in the last era,” he added.
The state minister noted, “While Bangladesh needs 1600-1700 million cubic feet of gas per day to generate enough electricity, the supply is only about 900 million. We cannot supply more gas as we have to prioritise agriculture and industrial sectors. Fertilisers are indispensable for agriculture. We need to supply a huge amount of gases to produce that too.”
Nasrul Hamid said the current gas production in Bangladesh is 2300 million cubic feet per day. The rest of the demand is being supplied to the national grid by importing LNG.
“Before the 2008 elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had promised to provide electricity to all households. We have implemented that vision. There is no substitute for uninterrupted gas and electricity to improve people’s daily life. We are moving towards that goal. However, due to the war, the rhythm suddenly dropped everywhere,” according to the statement.
Nasrul also said even developed and economically prosperous countries like Japan are not able to provide uninterrupted electricity to more than three and a half crore people. The situation is similar in another developed country, Australia. That means everyone has to ration gas and electricity in the crisis period.
“When the Awami League government came to power in 2009, gas production was only 1744 million cubic feet per day. From there we increased production capacity to 2,750 million. Until 2018, we have produced gas in this capacity. It is sad but true that our own gas production rate has started to drop due to declining reserves in our mines," he continued.
“We are getting LNG under long-term agreements with Qatar and Oman to import LNG. Besides, we used to import LNG from the international spot market. Before the Covid-19, we imported LNG for $4 per unit, but in the current situation, it has exceeded $41. Importing at such a high price will put a huge strain on our economy. Not just the price of gas. The prices of all types of fuel oil have gone up. Diesel price was $77 per barrel in July 2021, but in June this year it stood at $171,” added the state minister.
Nasrul Hamid said, “ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government is exploring its own energy, increasing production and digging deeper into existing gas wells. In the meantime, we have a short-term plan for an upgrade, a workover, for the next 3 years, so that 618 million cubic feet of gas per day can be added to the national grid from 46 wells.”
“Before 2008, there was no electricity for 16-18 hours a day in the whole country. After that, the Awami League government has taken various short, medium and long-term steps to develop the power sector. I will ask you to have faith in the people's leader Sheikh Hasina even in this time of crisis. We will overcome this crisis together,” the statement said.