Staff Correspondent: Surplus gas from Bhola fields is likely to be shipped to factories in Dhaka, Gazipur and Mymensingh’s Bhaluka by early June this year in compressed natural gas (CNG) form as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has nodded a proposal regarding this matter, said Petrobangla Chairman Zanendra Nath Sarker.
“The prime minister has approved the proposal to supply five million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day initially from Bhola’s fields. Now the proposal will be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA),” he said on Thursday.
“We will ink a contract with the entrepreneur once the CCEA approves the proposal,” the Petrobangla chairman said while exchanging his views with the members of the Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh at his office in the capital’s Karwan Bazar.
“We are trying to ship a total of 25 mmcf of gas per day from Bhola. Five mmcf will be shipped initially and 20 mmcf more in the next six months,” he added.
Intraco Refueling Station Limited has been picked for the gas transmission under the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provisions) Act, 2010.
At present, the country has a deficit of around 1,000 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day. The supply is only 2,892 mmcf against the demand of 4,000 mmcf per day.
Amid the outcry of different industries starved of energy, Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury on 23 October last year floated the idea of fetching 80 mmcf/d of gas in compressed form from the Bhola gas field within the next two to three months.
The two Bhola gas fields have around 200 mmcf production capacity, while the production hovers between 80-85 mmcf.
Therefore, around 120 mmcf surplus capacity remains unused in the eight wells of the Shahbazpur and Bhola gas fields.
A lack of pipeline and transmission facilities has rendered the government unable to transport the surplus gas to industrial zones facing an energy crisis. Although factory owners think that the gas will bring some respite, they are apprehensive of the comparatively higher prices.
At present, the rate of compressed natural gas (CNG) is Tk43 per unit (1 cubic metre), including Tk35 as the feed gas price and Tk8 as the operating margin.
But due to compression, transportation and then depressurisation, alongside different other charges, the price for Bhola gas will cost around Tk51.12 per unit, according to the proposal of the technical committee for this.
Zanendra Nath Sarker, however, did not disclose the prices approved by the PMO.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure the required gas to run gas-based power plants and supply energy to the industries, during this Ramadan, irrigation season and ongoing summer, Petrobangla – Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation – outlined a plan to keep the gas supply of around 3,000 mmcf per day with 700 mmcf from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
To boost the LNG supply, the state-run corporation decided to import at least two cargoes from the international spot market each month alongside the five cargoes from two long-term suppliers – Qatar Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited and Oman Trading Limited.
Petrobangla supplied 2892.5 mmcf of gas on 21 March 2023, of which, 2,172 mmcf was produced from local gas fields while 720 mmcf was from regassified liquefied natural gas (RLNG).
As part of the plan, fertiliser factories, CNG stations and domestic gas users may face a gas supply rationing due to priority supply to the gas-fired power plants to generate electricity to meet the peak demand.
Sharing his plan to boost gas production from local sources, Zanendra Nath Sarker said that they trying to add around 620 mmcf of gas within 2025 by drilling 46 wells that include fresh and marginal wells of different gas fields.
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