THAT BAPEX has found new gas field in Noakhali is indeed very good news as Bangladesh is struggling to meet the demand of gas for industrial and commercial sectors. The country is dependent for about half of its power from natural gas. Presently, about 1000 MW power generation capacity remains idle due to gas deficit of more than 500 million cubic feet per day. Mills and factories cannot carry on production due to the power shortage. New household gas connection is already stopped. Production of fertiliser is seriously hampered due to shortage of gas in national grid. Economic growth has slowed down.
It used to be believed in the past that Bangladesh has sufficient reserve of gas to last more 200 years. At present the country is struggling to supply adequate gas for industrial, commercial and domestic uses. At times consumers suffer due to the low pressure of gas. REHAB is struggling with their new projects, as they can not hand over flats due to the unavailability of gas connection. There is no alternative of exploring new gas fields for adding more gas to national grid to overcome the problem.
BAPEX the country's lone oil and gas exploration company was earlier made jobless due to the over dependency on foreign companies. Many experts left BAPEX and joined foreign companies for better salary and emoluments. Petrobangla is now compelled to buy gas from the companies at rates much higher than its sale prices. Petrobangla buys gas at $1.5-$2/Mcf from IOCs, whereas BAPEX can sell gas at a price lower than $1.2 per unit. IOCs in the past cared little about wastage of gas other natural resources. The government should therefore engage BAPEX more for inland gas exploration where it has expertise by providing financial incentive and assistance.