Where does Bangladesh's energy sector stand?
In the last 13 years from 2009 to June 2022, the storage capacity of fuel oil has increased from 8,93,000 metric tons to 13,08,000 metric tons
The government has taken a series of initiatives to ensure energy security by increasing domestic production. Under this plan, domestic gas companies are being given responsibility for more exploration and extraction.
Amid the global energy crisis, experts are stressing energy resources from domestic sources of the country.
When the energy crisis is going on in other countries of the world due to the effect of the Russia-Ukraine war, the government wants to increase the progress of the energy sector, like the power sector, along with various saving initiatives to deal with the crisis in Bangladesh.
For this reason, emphasis is being placed on the progress of ongoing projects and the work of energy sector organizations separately.
In such a situation, National Energy Security Day is being celebrated in Bangladesh on Tuesday.
On August 9, 1975, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s government bought the Titas, Rashidpur, Habiganj, Bakhrabad and Kailastila gas fields from the multinational company Shell Oil.
At the time, he bought the gas fields for 4.5 million pounds and established state ownership.
National Energy Security Day is celebrated on this day every year to remember Bangabandhu's foresight in the energy security of the country.
After the Awami League government assumed power in 2009, the Cabinet declared August 9 as National Energy Security Day in 2010 with the aim of promoting an economical use of energy.
Ongoing activities in Bangladesh for energy security
Recently, two new gas fields, named Srikail East-1 and Jokiganj-1, have been discovered. Besides, Sylhet-9 well drilling has been completed and commercially extractable gas has been found.
Additionally, the work of the five well-digging projects is ongoing while the workover of six wells has been completed.
Apart from this, 19 wellhead compressors are being installed to increase gas supply, 4,70,000 gas prepaid meters are being installed to stop theft and 2D/3D seismic survey is being done to search for new gas.
The selection of an LNG terminal developer at Matarbari in Moheshkhali is being done along with long-term LNG spot imports from Oman and Qatar.
The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for Offshore Bidding Rounds for Multiclient Survey (Deep-Shallow Sea Oil-Gas Exploration) is being updated.
In the last 13 years from 2009 to June 2022, the storage capacity of fuel oil has increased from 8,93,000 metric tons to 13,08,000 metric tons, which can meet the country's energy needs for about 40-45 days.
Moreover, another 2,58,800 metric tons of fuel oil storage capacity is in progress. As a result, fuel oil storage capacity will increase to about 45-50 days.
A total of 620 kilometres of fuel oil pipelines are in progress for fast, easy, safe and cost-effective transportation of fuel through pipelines.
The Single Point Mooring (SPM) project is underway to safely and cost-effectively unload and transport imported crude oil and refined diesel in a short period.
Apart from this, project approval is under process to set up an ERL Unit-2 with a production capacity of 30,00,000 metric tons to reduce the import dependency on fuel oil.
The Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) has been playing an important role in the discovery of mineral resources in Bangladesh.
Coal is one of the minerals discovered by GSB, which is mainly used for power generation.
GSB discovered a total of four coal fields namely– Jamalganj in Joypurhat district (in 1962), Barapukuria in Dinajpur district (in 1985), Khalashpur under Pirganj upazila in Rangpur district (in 1989) and Dighipara under Nawabganj upazila in Dinajpur district (in 1995).
Meanwhile, an agreement was signed to extract 4.5 million tonnes of coal from the Barapukuria Coal Mine in the next six years.
Besides, the Germania-Trust Consortium (GTC) contract with Madhyapara Granite Mining Company for quarrying has been extended.
Iron ore has also been discovered in Dinajpur. Authorities are currently analysing whether it is commercially viable or not.
What do experts say?
Chairman of Petrobangla Nazmul Ahsan said, due to the impact of war, a crisis has arisen in Bangladesh as in other countries in the world.
“The value of the dollar is much higher now. Fuel prices are also increasing. Because of this, LNG cannot be imported from the spot market for now. And it is not possible to overcome this crisis in one day. We have to be patient. We are doing our work with more manpower and priority than ever before,” he added.
Energy expert Dr Izaz Hossain said that to overcome the crisis created in the world market, the country will have to emphasize domestic energy.
He mentioned: “For this reason, like the power sector, the energy sector should also be given special importance. Import dependence may not be overcome immediately. Earlier, we should have emphasized domestic oil and gas exploration. There is still time, we must speed up our work.”
Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury on Tuesday urged officials to work towards building a diversified energy sector.
"Creative solutions have to be taken up for resolving the problems in the power and energy sector," he said.
The Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor advocated the use of solar power instead of diesel in irrigation pumps. "If we could introduce solar irrigation pumps, it could save half a million metric tonnes of diesel," he said.
National Energy Security Day being observed
Meanwhile, on the occasion of National Energy Security Day, articles on recent achievements, progress and other issues of the energy sector will be published in national daily newspapers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources organized a virtual discussion meeting to observe National Energy Security Day, 2022.
The Prime Minister's Energy Advisor is expected to be the chief guest, while the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources state minister will be present as a special guest.