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New hope in energy

Published : 29 Nov 2022 11:50 AM | Updated : 29 Nov 2022 02:40 PM

The ongoing acute gas and power crisis in the country is likely to ease by next year as the government has taken several initiatives to increase supply. 

Sources said imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to increase in the coming months. It is expected that the gas crisis will reduce remarkably in various sectors. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance has exempted Tk 831 crore 94 lakhs from the subsidies of various sectors to pay for the purchase of LNG in the long term.

Petrobangla official said five cargoes are coming in December under the long-term contract. In this, LNG supply will stand at 450 to 500 million cubic feet. Gas supply situation in industries will improve.

Officials also said that about 500 million cubic feet of LNG will arrive in five cargoes in December. A subsidy of Tk 10,000 crore was sought from the government for long-term LNG import. This sector will require about taka 12 thousand crore in the current financial year.

Under the long-term agreement, a plan has been taken to import 56 cargoes of LNG in the current fiscal year 2022-23. Importing that gas from Qatar and Oman will cost about taka 28 thousand crore. Around taka 18 thousand 321 crores be earned by selling it. The deficit will be more than taka 9.5 thousand crores.

A long-term LNG purchase agreement with Brunei is expected soon. Apart from Brunei, the government is in contact with some other companies from various countries in the Middle East. Now things are in negotiation stage.

To deal with the situation, the government is trying to negotiate a long-term LNG import contract. Among these, a delegation headed by State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid visited Brunei recently. 

In this regard, Nasrul Hamid said, “We are going to import 1 to 1.5 million metric tons of LNG annually from Brunei Darussalam from the beginning of 2023.

Sources in the Energy Division said that the agreement may be for a period of 10-15 years. In the current context, the import of diesel from Brunei on an average of 2 lakh 10 thousand metric tons per year on deferred payment was also discussed. A new agreement should be made on these issues.

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 supply of 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.

“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. 

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.

State-owned oil, gas and mineral corporation Petrobangla has taken initiatives to increase its local gas production by drilling wells onshore.

Energy and Mineral Resources officials expressed their hope and said that the government will invite the offshore bidding round 2022 in December to explore oil and gas from the Bay of Bengal. If the planned initiative is implemented properly, the country’s ongoing gas crisis would be reduced.

Mahbub Hossain, Senior Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division, said, “We are going into deep drilling in old gas fields hoping that reserves will increase there as well. Besides, initiatives have also been taken to conduct exploration activities in the hilly areas. We are expecting that the gas production will be increased by another 1,000 million cubic feet per day by 2027-2028.” 

Petrobangla wants to do deep drilling in two wells of Srikail in Comilla and Titas gas field in Brahmanbaria. Between the two wells, 5,300 meters will be drilled in Srikail. On the other hand, 5,600 meters will be excavated in Titas. 

Recent news reports reveal that the state-run Sylhet Gas Field Company Limited (SGFCL) and Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) have successfully produced gas from old abandoned wells through workover (performing a variety of remedial operations on natural gas wells to try to increase production) operations. 

Petrobangla has also taken initiatives to explore activities in the Bay of Bengal to reduce import dependency. To this end, Petrobangla is now working to review model production sharing contract to attract foreign companies to explore gas in offshore areas. 

A Petrobangla official said the government is planning to explore oil and gas from 24 blocks in the Bay of Bengal. Currently, Indian company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is working on two blocks on offshore.

A Petrobangla official said that the corporation is also hopeful of new prospects in Sylhet and Chattogram zones. US company Chevron indicated about gas prospects in Sunamganj and Netrokona. Japanese firm MOIKO also made the observation on block-8 and block-11 in onshore area.

On the other hand the government expects to add around 7,400 megawatts (MW) more of electricity to the national grid by 2023. 

To this end, some power plants are being constructed in different areas. If these power plants start generating electricity within the stipulated time, it will help meet the demand for power greatly, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) officials said. 

The first unit of much-talked-about Rampal 1,320-MW coal-fired power plant is likely to commence its commercial operation this month while the second unit will go into production by June next year, project officials said.

Besides, the government is planning to import 1496 MW more electricity from Adani Group of Jharkhand in India by March 2023. Of these 800MW of electricity will be added to national grid by next month. 

Bangladesh’s the grid connected power capacity is now 22,512 megawatts, including renewable energy and imported power. However, the government has set a target to generate 40,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030, and 60,000 megawatts by 2041.

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