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Gas crunch to ease up by 2025

Published : 08 Nov 2022 09:21 PM | Updated : 09 Nov 2022 02:16 PM

The ongoing acute gas crisis, plaguing the industrial sector and households in the country, is likely to reduce by 2025, Energy and Mineral Resources Division officials said.

The daily demand for natural gas in the country is around 400 crore cubic feet, while production capacity is 376 crore cubic feet including LNG, with Petrobangla currently supplying only 260 crore cubic feet.

Due to the acute crisis of natural gas, production in industries is being hampered. Other consumers like power plants, fertilizer factories, CNG stations, residential and other sectors in the country are also suffering from a gas crunch. 

There was a shortfall of around 3000 megawatts of electricity per day due to the gas crisis. Therefore, there had been load-shedding for up to eight hours in some parts of the country.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Division is not capable of handling the situation despite gas rationing in different sectors including CNG stations.

Gas demand in the country is met in two ways—production from domestic gas fields and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). The production capacity of the country's gas fields is 270 crore cubic feet per day. In contrast, 230 crore cubic feet of gas is being supplied. On the other hand, the imported LNG supply capacity under long-term contracts is 100 crore cubic feet. But now it is being supplied at around 38 crore cubic feet per day.

Petrobangla officials said that LNG prices have soared since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war last February. The government has also stopped buying gas from the open market at high prices. Meanwhile, production from the country's gas fields has been declining for several years. 

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that the government has continued all efforts to increase the supply of gas to industries. If the war situation becomes normal, the price of LNG in the world market will decrease. Then the import of LNG will increase, which will reduce the ongoing crisis.

“But we have to wait till 2025 to get uninterrupted gas. Various plans have been made for this. Already, several countries including Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Brunei have shown interest in supplying LNG. We are discussing. It is expected that around 1000 mmcfd of LNG will be imported from these countries by 2025. At present gas is being imported under long-term contract to import 1000 mmcfd of LNG.”

“We expect that our total gas demand will be 4500 mmcfd by 2025, which will be met from domestic gas fields (2500mmcfd) and imported LNG (2000mmcfd),” he added.

The state minister said that the government has plans to supply energy from various sources. Initiatives have been taken to bring gas through pipeline from India. It has decided to set up two more Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRUs) at Maheshkhali and Payra. Apart from this, a land-based LNG terminal will also be set up at Matarbari.

Nasrul Hamid said that the government wants to make industrialization prosper at any cost. The entire country is being brought under the gas pipeline network. Initiatives have been taken to supply gas through dedicated pipelines, especially to industries.

“The present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has added 1000 million cubic feet of gas to the national grid in the last 12 years. We need more gas to accelerate the country's economy and industrialisation in days to come. We are giving utmost importance to domestic energy exploration and production. By 2025, we will drill 46 more wells. It is expected that more than 618 million cubic feet of gas per day will be produced from these wells,” he added. 

According to Petrobangla sources, Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (BAPEX) will explore for gas in the Chattogram Hill Tracts in a joint venture with foreign companies. Three companies have already expressed interest in this regard. 

Experts said the issue of giving priority to domestic oil and gas exploration to ease dependence on import has long been neglected. Due to an increase in gas prices in the global market, an acute crisis has been created.  

According to a recent report by the Energy Division, production from the country's fields could drop by 18.4 crore cubic feet of gas per day in 2022-23 if no major gas fields are discovered. Daily production may fall by 43.5 crore cubic feet in 2023-24.

Sources said, the country's total proven and potential gas reserves are 29.54 trillion cubic feet in 27 commercial gas fields. According to Petrobangla's data, 20 trillion cubic feet of total gas reserves had already been extracted by 2021.

Currently, the country's gas fields produce about 900 billion cubic feet of gas per year. If gas is produced in this way, natural gas can be produced in the country only for the next 10 years.

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