Investing Tk 190 cr
Special Correspondent: Ilisha in Bhola got the recognition of the country’s 29th gas field. Considering the price of imported LNG under the long-term contract, the total value of gas stored here is estimated at about Tk 27 thousand crore. And from the acquisition of land, along with the purchase of necessary goods, the total expenditure of the energy department has been Tk 190 crore, including exploration and drilling of wells.
Many local and international organizations in the energy sector have expressed the opinion that instead of depending on the international market to meet the gas demand, investment should be increased in local extraction and exploration of Bangladesh. In 2017, the Danish engineering and consulting company Ramble said in a projection while preparing the master plan for the gas sector in the country, that more than $3 billion in gas imports will be needed to meet the demand in Bangladesh every year from 2021 to 2030. Instead of depending on imports, if this money is used for gas exploration and development at the local level, then the benefits will be much more.
In fact, the energy department has seen success by increasing investment in the exploration and extraction of gas at the local level. Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX), a state-owned energy exploration and extraction company, conducted exploration, extraction
and workover in nine wells throughout the year 2022. Bapex has spent Tk 812 crore. And through this investment, BAPEX has saved at least Tk 1 lakh crore in the import of LNG. In Elisha gas field, similarly, about Tk 27 thousand crores worth of gas has been invented by spending only Tk 190 crores of.
According to Bapex sources, it usually takes three to five months from the drilling of a gas well to the confirmation of gas supply. Although it took 1 month and 16 days to get gas from Elisha-1 well. However, the company’s officials said that it still takes one and a half to two years to extract gas from Elisha.
An official of Bapex said on the condition of anonymity, “One and a half to two years is required to extract gas from Elisha gas field. Process plants, pipelines have to be constructed there. It should also be connected with other gas pipelines there.
The gas field has estimated potential gas reserves of 200 billion cubic feet (Bcf). According to the calculations of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, the financial value of the stored gas is Tk 6,788 crores considering the price of selling gas at the customer level. And if we calculate the price of imported LNG on the basis of long-term contract, the price of gas found in Ilisha is about Tk 26,750 crore.
Ilisha gas field well (Ilysha-1) was drilled by Russia’s state-owned energy sector company Gazprom under the supervision of BAPEX. According to Bapex sources, the total cost of land acquisition, contractor’s bill, purchase of necessary goods for the well, management and incidental expenses has been Tk 190 crore.
According to sources from the Ministry of Electricity, Energy and Mineral Resources, the excavation of Ilisha-1 started in Malerhat area of Ilisha Union of Bhola Sadar Upazila on March 9 this year. Then on April 24, the excavation was successfully completed through ‘Drill Stem Test’ (DST) at a depth of 3,475 meters in three levels. According to geological data and DST test, the well has a potential gas reserve of 200 BCF. If extracted at the rate of 20 million cubic feet per day, gas will be available from here for 25-26 years.
According to Energy Department estimates, Bhola’s Shahbazpur, Bhola North and Ilisha together have 2.23 TCF (million cubic feet) of gas reserves. And this department of the government (Fuel Department) said that it is possible to extract 20 million cubic feet of gas daily from Bhola.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has announced Ilisha in Bhola as the country’s 29th gas field. He told reporters at his residence in the capital yesterday, “It is possible to extract 150-200 mmcf of gas from the three gas wells discovered in Bhola. This gas opens up a great potential for us. This is good news for the entire people of Bangladesh in the gas crisis situation. Bhola has about three TCF gas reserves.
Energy sector stakeholders say that exploration activities in the country have been stagnant for a long time. Despite neglecting local investment, Bangladesh became overly dependent on LNG imports in the gas sector. Due to this, the matter of getting gas was in uncertainty until now. Even if it is late, there should be a strong supervision of the energy department so that the search activity does not slow down.
Energy expert and geologist Professor Badrul Imam said, ‘We have been saying for a long time that gas can be obtained only by digging wells. Finding gas in Elisha is a big proof of that. Some people think that there is no gas in the country. Actually, that is not correct. We will get gas by drilling more wells and surveying. And if we get gas, we can reduce the cost of LNG by half. We cannot sit back and rely on an import-dependent fuel.
According to the energy department’s plan, by 2025, 615 million cubic feet of gas will be added to the national grid from local sources. Bapex is working as a part of this plan.
When asked about the overall issue, Managing Director of Bapex Mohammad Ali said, “Bapex will do its best to implement the plans adopted by the fuel department till the year 2025. A plan has also been arranged where BAPEX will dig wells in which area until the year 2025.
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