Energy experts have welcomed the move taken by Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (Bapex)
Amid growing demand for gas, and repeated criticism from different quarters over the import of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), the government is conducting a 2D seismic survey, aiming to help find a way to fix the current gas crisis.
The development is taking place right as the government is set to increase gas prices by 75% for consumers, with gas transmission and distribution companies seeking a significant hike in their respective distribution charges.
Energy experts have welcomed the move taken by Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (Bapex).
A recent letter issued by Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has sought help from the ministries concerned in this regard.
Sources in the state-run Bapex said the districts where the survey is underway are: Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Manikganj, Tangail, Rajbari, Faridpur, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Barisal, Pirojpur, Jhalakathhi, Barguna, Bhola, and Bagerhat.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, is conducting the survey at the onshore blocks 3B, 6B, and Seven in the 17 districts, at a projected cost of Tk188 crore, said a Bapex official, who preferred to remain anonymous.
The survey will cover a 3,000km line in the middle and southern parts of the country, he said, adding that the project that started in January is expected to end in December.
“The project was taken up considering a 2010 report on gas resources, prepared by the Hydro Carbon unit of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division,” he said.
Bangladesh currently has a demand of 3.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), whereas the gas supply is 2.7bcfd, clearly creating a massive shortage of 1bcfd of gas every day.
Considering the situation which has worsened in the last few years, the government started importing LNG from Qatar. The super-chilled gas, after being regasified, was added to the national grid on July 4.
In another development, Bangladesh is also expected to get its first shipment of LNG from Oman next month.
Welcoming the 2D seismic surveys, Dr M Tamim, a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, said: “Such an initiative is way better than going for imported fuel. This kind of move has to be encouraged since local gas is cheaper than imported gas.”
If gas exploration yields positive results, the country will eventually benefit from it, the energy expert said, expressing hope, and citing the higher prices of LNG.
Meanwhile, noted geologist and energy expert Professor Bardul Imam also appreciated the government move.
“The initiative should have been taken earlier. Despite being late, the move is still a positive one,” he told the Bangla Tribune recently.