Govt initiatives to supply uninterrupted gas to industry

The government has taken various types of initiative to supply uninterrupted gas to industry. Besides, the industrial gas connection will easier. To this end Energy Division has instructed to Petrobangla to make a survey of gas requirement in the industrial sector. The survey may begin after gathering information from gas distribution companies through Hydrocarbon Unit, official said.

However the government want to supply of gas connection to new industries only in industrial zones, while out of industrial zones, supply is uncertain. An official of the energy division said “Our division does not have any idea as to how much gas will be needed to give connections to new applicants. Approval for more applications without taking into consideration the supply will result in disaster.” A survey was also needed to ascertain the amount of gas being stolen, he added.

Recently it was discussed in a meeting in the energy division presided by Energy Secretary. Sources said there is no option without the survey to calculate the actual gas demand or how much amount of gas are being stolen due to illegal gas connections. The survey will show how much gas is needed in present and future for the industrial sector. Besides it will help to reduce system loss of gas supply.
New entrants to industry regularly apply for gas connections though no one has a clear idea as to how much gas will be needed in the future.

The government has begun LNG import to meet the gas crises. But it’s not enough. On the other hand, Titas Gas Distribution and Transmission Company cannot stop illegal gas connections yet. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid said, the government will ensure uninterrupted gas and electricity supply at affordable electricity price for the industrialists in schematic industrial zones. Out of these, the facility is uncertain in future.

The minister called upon industrialists to invest in the Economic Zones. He said, ‘industrialists establish factories in unplanned ways overnight to destroy crops and tell me to supply gas and electricity, it’s so difficult.’ No gas and electricity will be available in this way. If anyone wants to take uninterrupted gas and electricity, he must build his factory in industrial areas’, he added.

The government wants to take into account factories in industrial zones. Connection cost is higher due to set up of new infrastructure. Besides, there is anxiety of stealing and system loss. The major disadvantage is that it is difficult to measure the actual amount of gas and electricity. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult to provide uninterrupted gas and electricity.

According to directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, state-owned Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) was formed in 2010 to establish 100 economic zones by 2030. On the other hand, there are around 80 BSCIC industrial parks under Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation for small and medium enterprises in the country where around 6,000 industries are available. Some new industrial parks are now underway.

The country’s gas demand is increasing rapidly due to industrial and socio-economic development, which will reached 10,000mmcfd in 2041. However the domestic gas is depleting. In this situation, the government is planning to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG). Besides, gas exploration activities will continue in onshore and offshore, according to energy division official.

Petrobangla official said the country is being dogged by serious gas shortages since a long time now, crippling industries. At present, the total gas demand is more than 4300mmcf, while the supply is between 3,100 and 3,200 million cubic feet. Of these 500-575mmcfd gas is coming from RLNG, which is being imported from abroad. If LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) import is increased then supply can be increased.

Earlier, the government had plans to import about 2,000 mmcfd of LNG by installing four separate floating storage and re-gasification units (FSRU) by the year 2020 and to import LNG at a cost of USD 2 billion to mitigate the gas crisis in the country. Bangladesh’s LNG imports are expected to hit 10 million mt/year by 2023.