State minister says Bangladesh needs ‘billions of dollars’ to extract gas

    Originally published in BD News 24 on 21 May 2023

    The government lacks the billions of dollars it needs to extract gas and ensure undisrupted supply, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said.

    He made the comments after participants at a seminar on Saturday called for efforts to explore new gas fields and extract gas from the existing ones to tackle an ongoing energy crisis that caused disruptions to industrial productions and supply to kitchens, and frequent power cuts.

    The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the seminar in Dhaka on the future of Bangladesh’s energy strategy.

    Badrul Imam, honorary professor at Dhaka University’s geology department, said foreign companies estimate Bangladesh has 32-42 trillion cubic feet of gas in its offshore reserves while the country needs a maximum 1.5 tcf of gas annually.

    He suggested the government extract gas from the coastal fields immediately and then from the offshore ones.

    “Gas is there. But we must confirm how much. Some say 32 tcf, some others say 42 tcf. Then how can we make a plan?” Nasrul said.

    “And it takes $1-3 billion to extract gas through one well. We need manpower and money, but we don’t have so many dollars now.”

    According to him, $100 billion investment is needed to extract gas from the offshore reserves. “Where will we get so much fund? We’ll need to go 3,000 metres underground to extract gas from the offshore reserves. We need 2D and 3D surveys but we don’t have equipment for that.”

    Around 10 foreign companies have shown interest in extracting gas from the offshore reserves and the government is holding discussions with them. “We’re also planning to involve our private sector in this.”

    “After the work to build a deep seaport ends in 2024, it’ll be possible to set up an LNG terminal. It’ll be easier to import and supply gas then,” the state minister reassured.