Expert questions why 22 of 26 offshore gas blocks remain unexplored as government focuses on more expensive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Government policy is depriving the country of a cheap potential gas supply in the Bay of Bengal even though the longstanding maritime boundary dispute with India and Myanmar has been settled, an expert has said.
Of the 26 gas blocks in the Bay, 22 remain unexplored, geologist Dr Badrul Imam said at a mass hearing on proposed gas price and distribution charge hikes in Dhaka yesterday.
“The country might have discovered new sources of gas if all the gas blocks were explored,” the Dhaka University professor of geology told the event at the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) auditorium.
“Currently, separate foreign companies are exploring four gas blocks in the Bay, while Bangladesh has 13 deep sea and 13 shallow water gas blocks.”
Dr Islam also raised questions over the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the plan to expand the import volume in future.
“Why does the government have to rely more on expensive fuel when we have scope to explore the offshore gas blocks?” he asked.
Querying the government's role in addressing the ever-growing gas crisis, he said that despite the announcement in FY2014-15 that 55 onshore wells would be drilled in five years, the government's actions “do not reflect seriousness in this matter”.
“At least two multi-client surveys were initiated back then, but both were stopped in a year,” he said.
“So far, only four wells have been drilled and it is impossible to drill the rest in a year or two. Planning is inconsistent with the reality.”
The longstanding India-Bangladesh maritime boundary issue was disposed of in 2015 when a Hague-based international court awarded Bangladesh 19,467 sq km out of 25,602 sq km disputed area in the Bay of Bengal.