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Experts warn of acute gas crisis

Production crunch, planning debacle blamed

Published : Thursday, 16 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 916

Experts have voiced concern over the Energy Ministry's negligence and reluctance in implementing the long and mid-term planning in gas sector putting the country's gas reserves at risks. They warned it may result in acute gas crisis in the country any time.
Power plants, CNG stations, Tea gardens are facing acute gas crisis for last few months, interrupted LNG supply has also push the entire industries in a vulnerable situation. To manage the situation, government is considering cutting gas supply to the CNG stations, which are consuming only 4 per cent of total gas. Loadshedding is also increasing.
Country's biggest gas reserve Titas and Bibiyana are  shrinking very fast as Petrobangla's production cell has asked the Bangladesh Gas field (the owner of Titas gas field) and Chevron (operator of Bibiyana gas field) to extract more gas from there which was not allowed by the gas reserve cell of Petrobangla, according to the sources of Energy Division and Petrobangla. Data shows that gas production from 24 fields are decreasing.  
"To maintain the supply-demand chain, "Petrobangla has taken up the risky practices since 1990. Due to this injudicious move we lost Sangu. Now Titas and Bibiyana are going to face the same fate. We urged the government repeatedly to take measures immediately. Otherwise we shall kill the reserves as there is a time frame to implement augmentation plan in wells," former energy adviser Dr. M Tamim told the Daily
observer on Wednesday.
In 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the line Minister of the ministry directed the Energy Division to drill 100 wells in onshore areas and go for rigorous augmentation in all production fields in a very speedy mode, but the energy Ministry ignored.
"In her own hands she wrote on DPP over the issue, ordered for deep exploration in onshore areas, especially in Bhola, Shariatpur and Shatkhira areas, we don't know about the fate of those orders," official claimed.
Country's biggest gas company Bangladesh Gas Field Company Ltd (BGFCL), the operator of Titas gas field has taken up a plan to install 7 compressors at Titas gas fields wells calling tender in 2014 and took PMO's nods for its implementation.
"The energy Division took huge time to implement it just to give the job to its allies in energy business, cancelled tendering process several times and finally in 2019, it selected a so called USA based company to do the TK 900 crore jobs. Bangladesh Embassy in USA informed that there is no such a company there, it was the fate of the tender," a senior official said.
The official said Chevron is now producing around 1,200 mmcf gas per day it is now producing only 6,00mmcf to 7,50 mmcf per day due to over extraction.
"Now we have two options in our hand to take "deep Drilling (more than 4000 meter depth)" in proven gas fields and increase LNG import along with exploration work in shore and onshore areas to increase our own reserve to bring its (energy product) prices in tolerable level," Dr. Tamim said.
According to the Petrobangla, the 28 gas fields are producing around 2,600 mmcf gas per day, the demand of gas is 4,500 mmcfd, supply is only 3,200 mmcfd gas, of it 1,000 mmcf is LNG.
Country is running short of 1,000 mmcf gas per day. Petrobnagla is now supplying 1,000 mmcf to 1,100 mmcf gas per day against regular demand of 1,400 mmcf gas. All of its high cost fuel/disel based power plants are now in operation to continue the power generation in its normal pace.
"We have paid TK 20,60,56,398 crore as fuel bill in 23, July 2021.  In September 12 it jumped to Tk 87,1390219 crorehowever we failed to produce 2,300 MW of electricity from the gas fired plants. The per unit production of electricity from gas is Tk 2.50 on an average, which is TK 8.50 from coal and Tk 24 from fuel oil. The fuel bills show the real picture of gas crisis situation of the country," a senior official of the Power Division said.
However, Professor Anu Muhammad said all these things are happening with this sector just to justify the import of LNG and to increase its business here.

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