Gas crisis hits Bangladesh

By Pinaki Roy
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Searching for new gas (Credit: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN)the Bangladesh government is mulling over not giving out new gas connections as a measure to check the depleting supply in the country. The measure comes at a time when the demand of gas is increasing everyday in the country. "We have not stopped new connections. We are only rationing it because the gas pressure in the pipelines has reduced in many places," says a senior official from Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, the largest gas distribution company in Bangladesh.

Experts say the existing 21 gas fields in the country can meet demand until 2011. But lack of timely and proper government decisions on gas pipelines and exploration activities, they add, have caused a crisis with a shortfall in supply of more than 100 million cubic feet a day. The other problem is that more than 90 per cent of Bangladesh's 3,400 mw power is sourced from gas. Experts at Petrobangla and Power Development Board say the gas crisis hits the country hardest in the summer when demand for power increases to about 4,000 mw. Bangladesh follows a system where it buys its own gas from foreign companies. Under the product sharing deal, the government has to buy gas from companies at international rates.

Meanwhile, the government is facing losses because of rising oil prices. The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation asked for about us $991 million from the government to subsidize losses from oil imports for the period July-December 2007. Experts point out the current energy scenario demands making efforts to explore and develop new oil and gas resources. "Instead of awarding foreign companies, the government should assign all marginal gas fields to Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) to re-invest and re-explore. Bapex can hire high end oil companies for data collection and even to drill wells," said an energy ministry official.

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