Foreign cos hinder processing
Mahfuz Emran: As dependence on foreign gas companies for increasing demand increases, so does the country’s tendency to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). Domestic companies are largely behind in the race to increase production from their own gas fields.
Only 25 years ago, the entire production of gas in the country was in the hands of local companies. But in the space of two decades, more than half of the sector has been taken over by various foreign companies. Experts fear that this foreign dependence on gas production could lead to risks in the near future.
In a recent study, such information was given by energy expert, the only reservoir engineer in Bangladesh and associate professor of Bangladesh Military Institute of Science and Technology Amirul Islam.
According to the study, the actual demand for gas in Bangladesh is currently 4,000 million cubic feet per day. But only 3,000 million cubic feet is being provided by combining its own production and import. This is not going to meet the demand even by importing gas from abroad for a lot of money. A large part is going from deficit. But if the gas fields are explored in a proper manner through research, it is possible to meet 100 percent of the gas demand through self-production.
At present, 75 per cent of the demand from their own production capacity is being met. By doubling it, not only capacity but also deficit can be filled. Out of the total demand in the country, Bapex supplies 105 million cubic feet, BGFCL 640 million and Sylhet Gas Field 85 million cubic feet. About 615 million cubic feet of gas is being extracted from these state gas fields. On the other hand, international fields such as Chevron is supplying 1,415 million cubic feet of gas. If we can increase the production of domestic gas fields through our own capacity, we will not have to depend on imports to meet the daily demand.
50 pc gas remains in closed wells
Dr. Amirul Islam has shown in his research that it is possible to extract gas from the wells that have been shut down in Bangladesh by ‘secondary recovery’. Many gas producing countries in the world like Qatar, Norway or Mexico are extracting gas through ‘secondary recovery’ after ‘primary recovery’.
About 50 per cent gas has been extracted from the closed gas wells in Bangladesh through ‘primary recovery’. The other half is still gas. According to research from around the world, a maximum of 50 percent gas extraction is possible at an early stage. Up to the next two steps, up to 95 percent of the gas can be extracted. But Bangladeshi companies have never made such an attempt.
Secondary Recovery with Downhole Gas Compressor
The study says that the natural reserves that Bangladesh has, i.e. where we produce gas from, are done in a few steps. For example, in the initial stage the reservoir naturally pushes the gas upwards with its own force. We basically got the gas that the reservoir gave us in its own power. Its amount is 50 percent.
We get a maximum of 50 percent of the gas because the force of pushing up gradually decreases. Bangladeshi companies have stopped production by extracting 50 percent of this gas in various gas fields. But there was a need to focus on steps like ‘primary recovery’ and ‘secondary recovery’.
In the secondary method, many countries of the world are extracting gas through downhole gas compressors. This technology does not require much capacity to use. All you have to do is put the device under the ground. Then you just have to operate the device.
Bangladesh could increase production by 300 million cubic feet
According to the study, the Bangladesh Gas Field could increase gas production by about 300 million cubic feet and ‘300 million cubic feet’ through ‘secondary recovery’. Also four wells of Bakhrabad gas field are closed.
Initially gas has been extracted from these wells. Thus, in Bakhrabad, Habiganj, Meghna, Narsingdi Gas Field, Sylhet, Kailashtila, Rashidpur, Beanibazar, Salda, Fenchuganj, Shahbazpur, Shemutang, Sundarpur, Srikail, Begumganj, Rupganj, if the companies work more and go for deep drilling.
It is said that our companies currently have the capacity to dig up to five thousand meters. But research has shown that there is gas below seven to eight thousand meters. Research on every gas field in the country will show that we can extract a lot of gas from there. Three thousand million cubic feet of gas can come from state gas fields, that is technically possible.
Exploration for new gas fields is urgent
There is no substitute for increasing one’s own production to ensure sustainable energy. We need to increase production from the gas fields that we have. We need to focus on production in offshore gas fields. India and Myanmar have been producing gas in the border area for many years. We have not yet started gas extraction from offshore.
Petrobangla and Bapex’s current capacity, offshore lifting capacity to increase the investment must be increased. Man, machine, technology – all three must be combined.
Highlighting the need for skilled engineers, the study said it would take a maximum of 10 years to meet the demand for gas in its own production. If we develop our own gas fields and set a target of extracting 3,000 million cubic feet of gas at our own capacity by 2030, then there will be an urge to extract gas from offshore as well. If we target the period from 2030 to 2040, it is possible to produce a total of 4 thousand million cubic feet of gas.
Researcher Amirul Islam said that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman bought five large gas fields from a foreign multinational Shale Oil Company in 1975 and established domestic ownership over natural gas. Among the five large gas fields purchased by the Father of the Nation at that time was the Kailashtila Gas Field owned by the state-owned company Sylhet Gas Fields Limited (SGFL).
If Bangabandhu’s bold step taken in the interest of the country had continued later, Bangladesh’s own gas production capacity would have been several times higher.
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