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Nazmul Likhon
The Russian energy giant Gazprom is going to drill three exploratory gas wells in Bhola.
Gazprom has given a proposal for drilling 3 wells at a cost of around Tk 480 crore. The government has already given its green light for awarding the deal to Gazprom. And the negotiation with the Russian company is now open to cut the cost, said a Bapex official.
When contacted, Petrobangla Chairmen Abdul Mansur Md Faizullah told Bangladesh Post, “We have not finalised the deal with Gazprom. The discussion is still going on in this regard.”
Sources said two years ago, Bapex had carried out a 600-KML 3D seismic survey across Bhola region and got some positive signs of gas with the final report of the survey.
Bapex Managing Director AKM Ruhul Islam Chowdhury said, “We have already held a meeting with Gazprom over this issue. Again, we are going to sit in talks with them for the cost negotiation. Hopefully, we will be able to do this work at a lower cost than before.”
Sources said Gazprom has drilled 17 exploratory and development wells in Bangladesh since 2013. However recently, two wells have been drilled in Bhola where gas was found.
Earlier, Gazprom got the job to drill Shahbazpur Eastern-1 and Bhola North-1 at Tk 133 crore in each well, whereas Bapex were ready to drill at a cost of Tk 70 to 75 crore.
In April, 2012, the government had signed an agreement worth $19.35 crore with Gazprom to drill 10 wells under BGFCL and SGFL.
Natural gas plays an important role in the country’s economy. It is an environment-friendly fuel, which undergoes clean and odourless combustion. It is widely used as fuel for domestic (cooking and heating), industrial (metallurgical, ceramic, glass, bread and biscuits, power stations, cement works, factory process steam boilers, etc) and agricultural (drying, heating, steam boilers) use.
Bangladesh currently faces a shortage of around 1,000 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd), while the demand is around 3,700mmcfd.
The natural gas reserve of Bangladesh, according to an estimate, is around 16 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and may be exhausted within a decade. However, the gas demand is increasing day by day.
Petrobangla official said Bangladesh’s natural gas demand projection for current fiscal year has been revised up by 8.5 percent to 1.35Tcf on rising LNG imports. The previous projection of natural gas demand was around 1.24Tcf.
State minister for power and energy, Nasrul Hamid, in August said, the country’s gas fields have already started depleting as forecast, and the entire gas will be exhausted within the next 8-9 years. “We don’t have any new discovery in recent years. This has happened in many countries as a natural course.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the energy division to conduct more seismic surveys in the country for more gas exploration.

According to the government’s vision, it plans to drill a total of 35 wells by December 2018.