The government is moving towards cogeneration and tri-generation of electricity to optimize the use of fuel, particularly the costly natural gas.
The volatile market of natural gas is prompting the government to prioritise cogeneration, officials said.
“We are planning cogeneration of electricity as it helps utilize 90 percent of energy. Without cogeneration, only 50 percent of energy is utilized,” Prime Minister’s energy adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said at a recent meeting on the utilization of natural gas and electricity at Special Economic Zones.
He said the cogeneration or tri-generation of energy will help minimize the cost of energy production.
“Because of energy shortfall against the demand, future energy will be costlier here. So optimum utilization of energy will help reduce the production cost,” Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said at the meeting.
The government is planning to install a 50MW power plant after conducting a feasibility study at Adamzi EPZ in Narayanganj, the meeting was informed.
Besides, the Power Division is also working to introduce cogeneration at Asuganj Power hub. It also instructed authorities concerned to provide gas connections to those industries that are energy efficient.
BPDB already reached the capacity to generate 25,227MW of electricity including captive power plants, according to a power division official.
Due to natural gas supply shortfall, BPDB is producing costly electricity from 1200MW diesel-fired plants at a cost of Tk 12 billion per month.
Besides, costly electricity generation from 5,800MW furnace oil-based plants have pushed up the production cost burden.
BPDB chairman Balayet Hossain said BPDB was unable to produce 4000MW of electricity in different periods due to the gas crisis. “We sometimes received only 700mmcfd of gas against the requirement of 1400mmcfd to produce 8000MW of electricity,” he said.
Natural gas supply from the existing onshore gas fields is projected to start depleting to 137mmcfd in the current fiscal year, according to a Petrobangla prediction.
The onshore (local) natural gas production will drop to 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.
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. In June last, the ministry formed a high-powered committee led by Additional Secretary AKM FazlulHaque 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 a 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 has already started rationing in different sectors including CNG stations. 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 for natural gas is predicted to reach 5092 mmcfd by 2041, of which, 3850 mmcfd will be met by import. According to sources, the EMRD has no specific plan to overcome the natural gas crisis through the existing fund. It is planning to raise gas tariffs in the coming days to meet the fund crunch, sources said.