‘Initiative soon to end discrimination in gas supply’

UNB, Dhaka

The government will take an initiative soon to remove existing discrimination between Eastern and Western regions of the country in getting gas supply. 

Senior secretary to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division Speakers Md. Anisur Rahman made the remarks at a webinar on gas sector titled: "Future of Industrial Fuel Source in Bangladesh: LPG & LNG" organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) on Saturday.

“We are examining different options including installation of a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) at Mongla and Payra ports”, he said. 

He observed that the people of North-Western region are subjected to discrimination in getting energy supply at cheap rate, especially, natural gas as most of the energy hubs are located in Eastern region.

DCCCI President Rizwan Rahman chaired and moderated the virtual seminar, also addressed by Member of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Mokbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury, Advisor of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Prof Shamsul Alam, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Faruque Hassan, Md. Shahriar Ahmed Chowdhury, and Assistant Professor and Director, Centre for Energy Research, United International University (UIU).

 Engineer Kohondkar Saleque Sufi, Former Director (Operation), GTCL, Petrobangla, made a keynote presentation at the online seminar. 

  “So, we’re seriously considering different options including setting up of FSRU at Mongla, or at Payra port area and  installation of pipeline from Payra to Khulna via Barisal to reach imported gas to Khulna and adjoining areas”, he said. 

He informed that the government has taken initiative to set up an LPG terminal at Materbari seaport to facilitate low-cost import of  petroleum gas as its market size is growing fast.

The market size of LPG is 1.2 million ton and already Tk 30,000 crore have been invested in this sector while 29 private LPG operators are now actively operating in the market.

 The other speakers urged for extensive exploration for natural gas to ensure cost effective energy supply o the industries in future.

 They observed that liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are being used in the industries but the volume is very low because of its higher price.

 They made an opinion that still natural gas is very cost effective for the industries. They also emphasized energy mix and energy diversification.

Md. Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury said the government should take initiative to engage foreign companies for gas exploration across the country instead of solely depending on state-owned company-Bapex.

 He said many countries in the world are engaging foreign companies besides its nation one to explore gas for reducing the financial risk and involvement.

 “If we can implement metered gas for all it will help us to prevent system loss and it will create 1-1.2 million more metered connections.”

Terming LPG as environment friendly and healthy he said that at present 1.2 million ton LPG is being used.

He informed that for the first time BERC fixed coordinated LPG prices in the country.

 But again a public hearing will be held to review the price on July 7 next.

 “Private sector has to convince BERC to review the price. If the price of LPG comes down and is affordable to the lower middle income level people by the year 2025 about 3 million ton LPG will be needed”, he added.

 DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said that energy plays a pivotal role in the economic development and industrial progress of a country.

 He suggested a blended energy mix to offset the shortages of gas. 

 “We need to put more focus on the import and production of alternative fuel like LPG and LNG alongside natural gas exploration”, he said.

 Engineer Kohondkar Saleque Sufi said  LNG and LPG will be the future fuel for industries in Bangladesh.

DCCI’s former Director Nuher L. Khan, Director Arman Haque and Convenor Malik Talha Ismail Bari also spoke on the occasion.