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Industrial sector yet to get relief from gas crisis

07 December 2022

Staff Reporter :
The entrepreneurs of the industry sector are struggling to survive due to gas crisis as most of the factories are still running with the rationing system for insufficient gas supply against the demand.
On the other hand, it is not possible to import sufficient gas due to increase in LNG prices in the global market and shortage of foreign currency reserves in the country.
Even, in such a critical moment, there is no effective action of the government in gas exploration and extraction in the country.
Energy experts said that apart from various emergency measures, the government needs to take a long-term plan to deal with the energy crisis.
If the global energy situation does not improve, we have to ensure energy supply from our own resources. So, there is no alternative to search for new gas fields, they said.
But, it is disappointing that no such special initiative of the government is visible, they added.
"The problemme of gas in industrial sector has started since July this year. We are unable to produce the product on time. Our production is reduced by 42 per cent compared to normal period," Fazle Shamim Ehsan, Vice-President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told The New Nation.
"If gas exploration is not increased, the country will become dependent on imported LNG in the future, which will be a serious threat to the country's economy," he added.  The government is subsidizing huge amount of money every year to import LNG and Tk15,000 crore have been allocated for subsidy in the LNG sector in the current fiscal year.
According to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, the number of gas fields discovered in the country is 28 so far. The reserves of these gas fields are 35.80 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas. Of this, 28.47 Tcf of gas is extractable. Some 18 TCF gas has already been extracted from the fields.
On the other hand, around 2300 million cubic feet of gas is being produced from domestic gas fields against demand for 3.5 thousands million cubic feet per day and as per the agreement, 500 million cubic feet is imported from Oman.
The government stopped buying gas from the spot market as the price of LNG increased in the world market due to Russia-Ukraine war. To deal with the situation, the production of gas-based power plants was reduced.
According to an estimate, the daily gas demand in the country will be 440 crore cubic feet in 2025. But the production of gas is not increasing accordingly.
If no new gas fields are discovered, gas production from the country's fields is likely to be reduced by 18.4 crore cubic feet per day in 2022-23 and 43.5 crore in 2023-24 fiscal year, the estimate said.
"We are increasing our dependence on imports, which is worrying. Instead of looking at imports, Petrobangla or Bapex should increase domestic gas production capacity," energy expert M Tamim said.
"Gas crisis is going on all over the world. Bangladesh is not out of it. However, some plans have been taken to increase gas production in the country," said Nazmul Hossaain, Chairman of the Petrobangla.

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