'All our fields will be depleted within 8-9 years because we have not discovered any new ones in recent years. This has happened in many countries and is natural'
State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said gas fields in the country have begun to deplete, an indication that the gas resource of the country will be exhausted in 8-9 years.
The minister made the statement at a press briefing in the conference room of the Power and Energy Ministry, held to unveil programs which the Energy Division and its subsidiary bodies have been organizedto mark“National Energy Security Day”, which is to be observed on Thursday.
These programs include rallies, an SMS-based campaign for the economic use of energy, and a seminar by Petrobangla.
National Energy Security Day commemorates the historic decision taken by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman to take over the operations of five gas fields from Shell Oil at a cost of £4.5 million on August 9, 1975.
Nasrul also stated that one or two of the gas fields have already been depleted, with others nearing the same fate.
“All our fields will be depleted within 8-9 years because we have not discovered any new ones in recent years. This has happened in many countries and is natural,” he said.
Currently, Bangladesh has 23 gas fields in various locations whichtogether produce about 2,700 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) against the demand of 3,700 mmcfd, leaving a shortage of 1,000 mmcfd.
The minister also said the government has undertaken a project to drill 108 new wells in various gas fields to increase gas production.
So far, tenders for eight wells have been awarded to contractors, but as each of these wells only yield 15-20 mmcfd, the projects will not be cost-effective.
In light of contractors asking for a total of $30 million to drill 100 wells, the project is now being revisited, said Nasrul.
“The global energy market is changing rapidly, and new ideas are always coming up.Therefore, we have vetted this decision cautiously, and the government is also importing Liquefied NnaturalGas (LNG) to meet the energy demand.”
In response to a question, Nasrul said LNG will cause gas prices to increase.
“But hopefully, the regulatory body for energy will not take any illogical decision regarding gas price hikesand keep it within the reach of the people,” he said.