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Plan to boost local gas production

Published : 15 Aug 2022 09:20 PM | Updated : 16 Aug 2022 01:54 PM

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 have taken up a plan to drill 46 wells, which will add gas production by 618 million cubic feet per day to the national grid by 2025. Among the 46 wells, 17 are being explored, 12 are at developmental stage and 17 are at workover stage.”

“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,” he added. 

Bangladesh has become increasingly dependent on imported LNG (liquefied natural gas) due to gas supply shortfalls from the local sources. The high price of LNG, especially in the spot market (a market where commodities, currencies and securities are traded for immediate delivery) has put a lot of stress on the overall economy of the country. 

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 foreign consultant has been appointed to go for international bidding. 

Petrobangla Chairman Nazmul Ahsan said, “We are going to explore every possibility to explore local gas to reduce import dependency. We have assigned an international consultant, Wood Mackenzie, to review the existing model production sharing contract. The work of updating it is in the final stage. We are expecting to invite the offshore bidding round by end of December.”

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.

The country’s proven natural gas reserve was 29-30tcf, which have already extracted 20tcf and the rest 9 to 10 tcf is remaining. At least one trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas is required every year in Bangladesh.

During the past one decade the government added around 1,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of natural gas to the national grid and the amount of gas has reached to 2,700mmcfd from 1,700mmcfd.

However, local gas production has come down to 2,300 mmcfd from 2,700 mmcfd. 

A Petrobangla official said that the corporation is also hopeful of new prospects in Sylhet and Chattogram zone. 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.

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