Tuesday, 19 October, 2021

Ensure optimum use of natural gas

Ensure optimum use of natural gas

The discovery of a new gas field at Zakiganj in Sylhet has come as a much needed shot in the arm for the country’s energy sector staring at a rapidly diminishing reservoir of natural gas. It is estimated that the gas field has a reserve of 68bcf of gas, and the equivalent value of it is Tk 12.76 billion.

We congratulate the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd. for discovering the country’s 28th gas field. It is hoped that all necessary measures will be taken to prepare and preserve the gas field so that it can serve national grid.

The demand for natural gas is rapidly increasing, whereas the reserve of the same is depleting fast, which is forcing us to increasingly rely on import for this prized resource. Amidst the scarcity of supply, the government often finds itself in a quandary when it comes to ensuring a balanced distribution of natural gas among various consuming sectors that include household, transport, industrial and power generation. At present the government is not giving gas lines to newly built buildings for household consumption. According to an estimate, demand for gas of around 75 per cent households is being met by LPG.

There are reports of rampant misuse of gas lines and widespread pilfering of the valuable resource, which happens often in collaboration of corrupt energy officials and political strongmen. The authorities concerned must check this and should also come out with a mechanism to check wastage of gas at household level due to inefficient use.

That said, as per as distribution of natural gas is concerned, we are at a crossroads, and there is no other way around except trying to ensure a balanced distribution of this natural resource in an optimal way. At the same time, exploration for new gas field should be a continuous process. The Bay of Bengal is a potential reservoir of mineral resources. So, it should be properly utilised. The government should also explore alternative renewable energy – solar, biogas - without hastily depleting all underground resources for this generation.