When the energy crisis is going on all over the world, Bangladesh government has taken various plans to ensure energy security by increasing its domestic production.
The good news is that gas has already been found in abandoned wells through new drilling and such exploration will continue.
On November, 28, eight million cubic feet of gas per day is being added to the national grid from an abandoned well in Sylhet's Biyanibazar. There is reserve gas of more than 70 billion cubic feet of gas at a depth of 3,254 meters. In two wells together gas reserve shows that there are around 100 billion cubic feet of gas in Biyanibazar field.
Earlier, 239 BCF of gas was found in the Tobgi-1 exploration well in Bhola on November 3. After drilling the exploratory well, the energy division said that gas can be extracted at the rate of 20 million cubic feet per day from Tobgi-1 well. Petrobangla will be able to extract gas from this well in the next 30-35 years.
Recently, two new gas fields named Srikail East-1 and Jokiganj-1 have been discovered. Besides, five million cubic feet of gas per day is being produced from an abandoned well at Salda gas field. On the other hand, Sylhet-9 well drilling has been completed and commercially ex-tractable gas has been found. Besides, the drilling work of five wells are ongoing. Work on six other wells has been already completed.
State-owned Sylhet Gas Fields Limited (SGFL) has officially started supplying about 19 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) to the national grid from last May. The supply comes from well no 7 of the Kailash Tila gas field, declared abandoned earlier.
Besides, around 80 million cubic feet of gas per day will be shipped from the Bhola gas field and added to the national grid very soon. Along with this, there is a possibility to find about 10 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) in Shariatpur district.
Energy and Mineral Resources Division says that the government is working to find the source of domestic energy. To this end, Petrobangla plans to drill a total of 46 wells, development and workover wells during the period 2022-2025.
Also, drafting of a new Production Sharing Contract (PSC) to strengthen offshore exploration is nearing completion. Fresh tenders will be invited for gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal early next year.
Experts said that gas exploration is showing new potential amid the crisis. Exploration of more abandoned wells and discovery of new fields will help overcome the crisis.
Energy expert Professor Badrul Imam said that the country is running out of gas, this information is not correct. He said, "at least three international studies say that our country still has 34 TCF of gas." He called for strengthening the exploration of gas onshore of Bangladesh.
The government wants to increase the progress of the work of the energy sector as well as the power sector along with various saving initiatives to deal with the energy crisis. For this reason, emphasis is being placed given on the progress of ongoing projects and work of energy sector organisations separately. State-owned gas companies have been tasked with more exploration and extraction.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said, "The government is doing whatever it takes to ensure energy security. We are working to further integrate energy security in the future.”
Nasrul said “We are giving utmost importance to domestic energy exploration and production. By 2025, we will drill 46 more wells. It is expected that more than 618 million cubic feet of gas per day will be produced from these wells.”
“We expect that our total gas demand will be 4500 mmcfd by 2025, which will be met from domestic gas fields (2500mmcfd) and imported LNG (2000mmcfd),” he added.
According to Energy Division, since 2010, the government started drilling exploration wells one after another with emphasis on the gas sector. Gas field was discovered at Sundalpur of Noakhali. Gas filed of Srikail of Comilla was found in 2012. Gas is being extracted from these two wells.
A small amount of gas was found in Rupganj of Narayanganj in 2014. It was shut down after extracting one billion cubic feet of gas. Bhola's Veduria gas field, discovered in 2018, is yet to start production. Jokiganj gas field was discovered in August last year.
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) managing director Mohammad Ali said, "Bapex has prepared itself to extract gas in the country. The government is also ready to help us in every way. We are getting cooperation.”
"We have four rigs in gas exploration and production. We have a year-round plan for each of the four rigs up to December 2025. We are working to ensure that our rigs do not sit for a day. We are drilling exploration and production wells,” he added.
SGFL Managing Director Mizanur Rahman said that they plan to increase gas production to 164 million cubic feet per day by drilling six new wells and workover of eight wells, which will be completed by 2025. Already, supply of 8 mmcfd gas to the national grid has started through a well after completion of workover.
According to Petrobangla sources, BAPEX will also explore for gas in the Chattogram Hill Tracts in a joint venture with foreign companies. Three companies have already expressed interest in this regard.