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No plan for tariff hike of oil, gas

Says State Minister for Power and Energy at a meet with energy reporters

  • Special Correspondent
  • 15 March, 2022 12:00 AM
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No plan for tariff hike of oil, gas
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid speaks at a press briefing at Biddyut Bhaban in the capital on Monday. -PID Photo

The government has no immediate plan to increase tariff on natural gas and petroleum fuels, said State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid.

He said the government injects subsidies to power and energy sector despite the huge pressure in balance of payment so that the prices remain stable in local market.

“We will require additional fund to ease the pressure. We will be able to keep it under control. The work is underway to inject more subsidies to keep it stable,” said Nasrul Hamid at a meet the press event on Monday.

Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) and Bangladesh-China Power Company (Pvt.) Limited jointly organised the event.

Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Mahbubur Rahman, North West Power Generation Company Ltd  (NWPGCL) chief executive officer Engr. A.M. Khurshedul Alam, and Power Cell director general Mohammed Hossain also attended.

FERB chairman Md Shamim Jahangir presided over the meet.

Nasrul Hamid said increases in international oil prices and gas tariff put the pressure on government exchequer.

He said the government have to pay additional Tk 80 crore daily in buying oil from international market which has been hit by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Despite the fact that this puts pressure on balance of payment, the government has decided to continue subsidising the sector in higher amount until the market returns to a tolerable limit, the state minister said.

He, however, warned that if the energy prices continue to rise further in international market, the government may have to decide increase the prices in local market too.

Nasrul Hamid said the BPC’s monthly loss will amount to around Tk 240 billion if the current level of fuel prices in global market continues.

“It, therefore, remains a big question that how long we could afford to this,” the state minister said.

According to him, the government will need more money in future to ensure fuel supply as the oil and gas prices keep soaring in international market.

Outstanding electricity and natural gas bills have put additional pressure on the government’s fund crisis in the sector, Nasrul Hamid said.

“We have Tk 8000 crore as outstanding gas bills and another Tk 7000 crore as outstanding electricity bills due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The state minister said the demand of costly electricity during the peak of hot summer adds to the pressure as the demand goes up by 200 megawatt daily.

In Ramadan, the mosques have to run ACs during prayers, which also pushes the demand up, Hamid said.

He said the government is planning to drill natural gas in the Chattogram Hill Tracts to ease the demand of natural gas import.

The drive against the theft of natural gas also continues, he said, adding that the government has a plan to connect off-grid gas of Bhola with main land system.