The Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) has discovered a new gas field in Zakiganj upazila of the country's gas-rich Sylhet region with a probable reserve of about 68 billion cubic feet (bcf), equivalent to 20 days' consumption of natural gas.
However, some 48bcf can be extracted considering 70% recoverable reserves.
Gas can be extracted from the newfound field for next 10-12 years, said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Monday, while addressing a webinar on the occasion of National Energy Security Day 2021.
"The new gas field will play an important role in meeting the growing energy demand," Nasrul said, adding that Bapex's capacity is gradually increasing and it has been empowered more than ever to explore new gas fields.
However, it appears that the newly discovered gas field has "less stock" like the Rupganj gas field that was discovered in Rupganj in 2014 and dried out in 2018.
Bapex was able to collect gas for more than 9 months from the field though when it was discovered, it was claimed that gas could be extracted from the field for 18 years.
The Rupganj gas field was said to have around 100bcf of gas reserve.
Bapex Managing Director Mohammad Ali told The Business Standard that the value of the discovered gas reserve in the new field is about Tk1,276 crore compared to the current rate given to the International Oil Companies.
A total of 27 gas fields, stocked with around 28 trillion cubic feet, were discovered in the country. Of these, about 18 trillion cubic feet of gas had been extracted till 2019.
Currently, 20 gas fields are operational in Bangladesh with the supply of only 2,300 million cubic feet of gas per day against a national demand of 3,500mmcf/d.
To meet the growing demand, the government has started to import 600-800 mmcf/d Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) through two floating storage regasification units(FSRUs).
But, there is still a remarkable gap between demand and supply of the gas in the country.
Meanwhile, at the webinar, Waseqa Ayesha Khan, president of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said Bangladesh needs to focus on energy diversity because fossil fuel will finish someday.
"Importance should be given to renewable energy, in particular," he also said.
Special Assistant to the chief adviser to the former caretaker government, Professor Dr Mohammad Tamim said there is more concern about ensuring supply than affordable energy.
"Energy deficit is growing and there will be a production shortage of more than 400mmcf to 500mmcf of gas in the coming days. Therefore, LNG import has to be increased immediately after establishing a land-based terminal. If that is not ensured, a major disaster will occur in the energy sector," he added.
He also said the country needs to conduct a massive gas exploration programme across the country and for that, multinational companies should be hired by Bapex if necessary.
Md Anisur Rahman, senior secretary to the Energy and Mineral Resource Division chaired the webinar while Petrobangla Chairman ABM Abdul Fattah delivered the welcome address.
Director General of Hydrocarbon Unit of Energy and Mineral Resource Division ASM Manjurul Kader presented the keynote at the programme.
He said there is nothing to lament about increasing LNG imports. Many countries have boosted economic growth with LNG imports. There will be no problem with the plan.