** People rescuing an injured passenger from inside a passenger bus hit by a truck on Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in Shologhar area of Shreenagar upazila in Munshiganj on Thursday. ** Motorcycles allowed on Padma Bridge after 10 months ** Commuters charge extra fare, passengers disappointed ** 78 people killed in Yemen stampede ** Moon sighting committee meets today to ascertain Eid day ** 9 killed in road accidents in 3 districts ** US announces new $325 m military aid package for Ukraine ** Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia today ** Eid exodus begins ** LPG price cut illusive ** 15 hurt as bus overturns in capital ** New interbank cheque clearing timings set for Eid holidays ** Four women hit by a train die in Tangail ** 12.28 lakh SIM users left Dhaka on Tuesday ** Sylhet engineer threatened over power outage ** People rush to village homes to spend Eid holidays with their near and dear ones. This photo was taken from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Surge in cases of dehydration, diarrhoea amid summer heat wave ** Padma Bridge construction cost increases by Tk 2,412cr ** PM gives Tk 90m to Bangabazar fire victims ** Textile workers block highway demanding wage, Eid bonus ** Attack on PM's motorcade Ex-BNP MP, 3 others get life term ** Load-shedding increases for demand of electricity during heat wave ** Motorbikes to be allowed on Padma bridge from Thursday ** 5-day Eid vacation begins from today ** Take Nangalkot train accident as a warning about negligence of govt functionaries **

LNG import and politics in gas fields leasing

20 February 2014

A NEWS report in a national daily on Wednesday said that the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Qatar recently to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet the growing domestic demand of energy to run the wheels of the economy and business.  However details of the import agreement will be worked out in the near future when work on the construction of a CNG landing terminal will begin at Moheshkhali in the off-shore waters. A pipeline will also be set up to bring the LNG  onshore at Anwara for distribution to business.  
The news report most significantly highlighted the country's transition to the use of LNG to supplement the shortage of gas which was so far supplied in bulk over the last three decades from domestic gas fields. It also showed that energy is going to be costlier in future to raise the cost of economic production at all levels. But as the size of the country's economy and business has already out spaced the local supply potentials, the government has come under tremendous pressure to import LNG to meet the growing requirements.
Some trade statistics said the country's potential demand for gas has already shot up to 3500 mmcf on a daily basis as against 224 mmcf of supply. The question is then how the gap is being met. The answer is the lost economic and business opportunities that we are incurring for want of enough gas to commission new mills and factories to expand existing production and set up new factories for domestic market and exports. The household sector is also suffering due to the shortage of electricity and load-shedding. Agriculture is suffering from a shortage of gas to produce fertilizers.
Meanwhile, the present actual supply of gas from domestic wells stands at 230 mmcf per day while the actual demand is at least over 500 mmcf on a daily basis. Since the country's economy is expanding fast, the import of LNG has become the only option while the search for new gas field discoveries from domestic fields must accelerate. There is no alternative to it.
But we are really bewildered to see that the government is not giving enough allocations to Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (BAPEX) to spend more funds for new explorations. Contrary to it, we were dismayed to see that the government last year gave some very potential gas fields to the Russians for drilling. It has also given two gas blocks last week to the Oil and Natural Gas Company of India in the off-shore waters where the Kutubdia gas field is located. It was discovered by Union Oil of the USA in 1973 but remained untapped due to the absence of a pipeline.
We hold the view that the government should not mix politics in the domestic energy sector at the cost of the nation's energy security. Many people here tend to believe that it has traded the gas blocks with Russia and India to solicit political support to end its global isolation. Energy sector is the backbone of the national economy, we hold the view that it must be kept out of politics.

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