Energy-starved Bangladesh discovers new gas field worth over USD 148 mn

Dhaka, Aug 10 (PTI) Bangladesh has announced to have discovered a new gas field containing a probable reserve of about 68 billion cubic feet worth over USD 148 million.

The state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (BAPEX) made the discovery in Sylhet region, some 240 kms northeast of Dhaka, state minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Monday.

It would play an important role in meeting the energy-starved country’s growing demand, he said.

“The new gas field has a possible reserve of 68 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas worth around 12.76 billion takas (about USD 148 million),” Hamid said.

BAPEX officials said that they plan to launch a 3D survey soon to assess the real position as they expect to extract up to 13 years at 10 million cubic feet per day from the virgin field.

The field was primarily discovered in June but preferred to make the announcement public after assessing its probable reserve and extraction prospects, the officials said.

Bangladesh previously discovered 27 gas fields, with the latest one being in the southwestern coastal district of Bhola in October 2017, the biggest one so far, having hundreds of billions of cubic feet reserves.

Currently, 20 gas fields are operational in Bangladesh with the supply of 2,300 million cubic feet gas per day (MMcf/d) against a national demand of 3,500 MMcf/d, a situation that prompted the government to import 600-800 MMcf/d Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Bangladesh discovered its first gas field in Sylhet in 1955.

State-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation officials said the previously discovered 27 gas fields contained a cumulative original recoverable gas reserve of around 28 trillion cubic feet.

Energy expert Professor Dr Mohammad Tamim said there was more concern about ensuring supply than affordable energy while “energy deficit is growing and there will be a production shortage of more than 400 to 500mmcf of gas in the coming days”.

Another expert Badrul Imam said that gas exploration in Bangladesh still remained in an “immature stage” with many unexplored areas and potential reserve types.

“There are high prospects of finding significant new gas reserves a serious exploration drive can certainly offer Bangladesh enough gas to offset the policy of overwhelming dependence on imported energy,” he added.