Friday, 24 September, 2021

Gas crisis to worsen in coming days

LNG import likely to rise as gas reserves depleting

Natural gas supply from the existing onshore gas fields is projected to start depleting to 137mmcfd in the current fiscal year.

The onshore (local) natural gas production will drop by 742mmcfd by 2041 if there is a delay in major hydrocarbon discoveries, according to the projection (2021-2041) made by Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla).

Petrobangla was supplying an average of 2432mmcfd of natural gas from onshore fields last fiscal year. The supply will be reduced to 2,295mmcfd anytime this fiscal year thanks to over-dependency on a few sources, said officials.

The natural gas supply from the existing fields will come down by another 184mmcfd in FY2022-23 if the exploration companies don’t make major discoveries, sources said.

Besides, it is projected that the supply of natural gas will fall to 435mmcfd in FY2023-24 as most of the Chevron-operated gas fields are experiencing a fall in output.

Energy sectors officials are chalking out a major plan to overcome the crisis.

“We have already started 2D seismic and 3D seismic surveys to overcome the crisis in major gas fields,” said an official.

He said the government is now evaluating previous data from Bibiyana, Titas and Moulavibazar gas fields for getting more output to face the crisis.

Petrobangla has a plan to drill 86 work over wells, 23 development wells and 30 exploratory wells to raise the gas output in FY2022-23.

With this, the number of work-over wells will increase to 128 while the number of development and exploratory wells will also increase to 226 and 171 respectively.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division’s senior secretary Md Anisur Rahman said the government is concentrating more on exploration activities to increase output from the onshore gas fields.

He added that the division also asked the international oil companies engaged the local gas fields to conduct an extended survey to increase the output.

“If we don’t get more gas, we will have to depend more on LNG import in the coming days,” he said.

In June, the ministry formed a high-powered committee led by Additional Secretary AKM Fazlul Haque to feed the power plants with sufficient gas for power generation. The committee submitted its report before a meeting on July 7, 2021.

It made series of recommendations including rationing in gas supply to CNG stations, captive power plants and industrial units to feed power plants as the top priority.

This will be done as part of the government’s austerity measures in the supply of natural gas. The government is planning to impose extra tariffs on those who use natural gas more than allocated.

The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources has ordered the authorities concerned to submit a proposal in this regard to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) ahead of the upcoming winter hearing.

The government has a plan to increase LNG import at least by 1600 mmcfd to supply 3465 mmcfd annually by FY 2023-24.

In FY 2024-25, the country’s LNG import will surge to 2350 mmcfd against the requirement of 4343 mmcfd of natural gas, according to a Petrobangla projection.  

The demand of natural gas is predicted to reach 5092 mmcfd by 2041, of which, 3850 mmcfd will be met by import.

“We have a plan to develop infrastructures to increase LNG import to 4000 mmcfd by FY2031-32,” said an official concerned.

He said Petrobangla has already made a presentation last month before the ministry in this regard.

The government also plans to install a third parallel pipeline from Matarbari to Moheskhali to supply 1000 mmcfd of LNG from the land-based Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU).

The government policymakers are worried about the strategy of importing costly LNG to meet supply shortage as the locally produced gas is depleting gradually.

On the other hand, LNG tariff has been increasing in the international market.

Energy expert Prof M Tamim said the government should chalk out an “appropriate plan” for LNG import.