Introduction: Availability and uninterrupted supply of energy at an affordable rate is inevitable for the sustainable social and economic development and growth of the country. Accessibility, affordability and reliability of the sources of energy are fundamentals to energy security. Energies are obtained from various sources and utilized in various purposes. The purpose of a strong and rational energy policy is to determine a viable matrix of prudent mix of the sources of energy and its utilization to various fields. It involves the prioritization of the sectors or areas of consumption and to maintain a balance between supply and demand of the available energy. Study indicates that there is a strong positive correlation between the economic growth rate and consumption of energy. Growth rate of economy is always preceded by the the growth rate of consumption of energy. Energy policy entails measures or strategies on long term and short term energy security. Long term strategy of energy security involves the timely investment to energy supply in line with economic development and short term strategy focuses on the prompt responses to sudden changes within the supply-demand balance. Maintenance of strong balance between supply and consumption of energy is a pre condition for sustainable economic development and growth of the country.
Energy Sources: Hydro carbon exploration commenced towards the end of Nineteenth century in this region. During 1908-1914, the Indo-Burma Petroleum Company started exploration in the Sitakunda anticline. Extensive exploration work so far has secured the discovery of 23 gas fields and one oil field in Bangladesh. The first gas field discovered in Bangladesh territory was in 1955 by the Burma Oil Company. Exploration and production of gas in Bangladesh are operated by 3 State owned and 4 International Oil Companies. According to Petrobangla, the country has 28.86 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of proven and probable natural gas reserve of which 20.98 TCF is recoverable. Cumulative production up to December, 2008, was 8.046 TCF, making the recoverable reserve of 12.934 TCF. At a consumption rate of 0.73TCF per year with consumption growth rate of 10%, the existing gas reserve will be depleted within a few years unless new gas sources are discovered. Analysis indicates that gas consumption will rise to 3.3TCF in 2050.
In 2014, there were in total 26 gas reservoirs discovered in Bangladesh with recoverable capacity of 20, 98 TCF. Gas fields have also been discovered offshore in the Bay of Bengal. After the resolution of maritime dispute with Myanmar and India in 2012 and 2014 respectively, the prospect of new gas fields in the offshore has increased. Presently, offshore drilling area is divided into 28 blocks most of which are in the process of allocation to International Oil Companionless for exploration of Oil and gas.
Bangladesh has coal reserve of 5.0 billion tons in 5 fields, equivalent to the production of 67 TCF of gas, sufficient to meet the energy needs of 50 years. Moreover, alternative sources of power production such as coal, hydro, solar, wind or import from other countries may reduce the dependence on natural gas for power generation.
Use of Energy: In Bangladesh, natural gas is mainly used for the generation of power (43%), production of fertilizers mainly Urea (6%), industrial process heating (17%), captive power generation (17%), household cooking (11%) and as the fuel in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG-5%) in vehicles and other commercial purpose (1%).
There are various sources of energy such as natural gas, Liquefied Natural gas (LNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), coal which is available in the nature as hydro carbon. Natural gas plays an important role in the development of the economy. Natural gas is extensively used as a clean fuel for the production of electricity, fertilizers, industrial (metallurgical, ceramics, glass, cement works, factory processes steam boilers in textile and garments industries for drying and heating), for cooking and transports. LPG and LNG are also obtained from natural gas and are used for the same purposes. Moreover, natural gas is used in the chemical industries for the production of fertilizers, plastics, resins, rubbers and various petrochemical products. LPG is a very reliable source of energy for cooking purposes.
During the last 17 years, due to rapid industrialization and development in various fields, the rate of consumption of natural gas has expanded at a much faster rate than the production of gas causing a deficit. Present demand of gas is about 3.0 BCFD against supply of around 2.5 BCFD causing constant deficit of 0.5BCFD. With the creation of new demand of gas, this gap will be further widened interrupting socio economic development.
Efficiency Enhancement: Natural gas is the prime source of energy having limited reserve. The reserve will be depleted within a few years if this scarce resource is not utilized in a very rational and prudent way. Moreover, inefficient use of energy is also responsible for lower productivity, misuse and wastage of these scarce resources. Use of natural gas should be made limited or avoided in those sectors where this could be replaced by other sources of energy. Replacement of age old machinery and equipment with efficient ones is essential for generation of power ensuring optimal utilization of gas. Shortage of power may be replenished through importing power from India, Myanmar and China through Myanmar directly. Bangladesh may make investment in hydro electric generation project in Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar as a joint venture partner. This will ensure low cost steady supply of renewable energy to our national grid and reduce the dependence on natural gas for production of power. A well thought rational energy policy is required to be framed out to this end.
Inefficient distribution and transmission of gas causes system losses to the extent of about one third of total gas. Moreover more than 25% of power generation capacity is more than 20 years old which results occasional shut down due to inefficient performance. These power plants involve high fuel consumption with low productivity and high maintenance cost. Presently, about 1200 MCFD is required for the power plants to produce electricity but the PDB get only 900 MCFD causing under production of power leading to high production cost. On the other hand, Capacity of Captive power plant is 1800 MW for which 300 MCFD gas is required. 30% of the captive power plants are based on natural gas, the rest on High Speed Diesel (HSD) and Heavy Furnace oil (HFO).The efficiency of the captive power plant is about 30% causing huge wastage of natural gas and imported oil. Moreover, conversion of all single cycle power plant to combined cycle power plant will ensure 1.5 times higher yield of power with the same amount of fuel. This step will ensure better utilization of gas. Efficient use of gas for power generation may be ensured through replacement of old power plant of single cycle to combined cycle one, shutting down to gas fired and diesel generator units.
Industrial use of gas involves the firing of boiler for steam, direct heating for melting, baking, drying commodities such as in steel, paper, glass, ceramics, textile and food. Industries should take policies on the consumption of gas, based on consumption intensity, output, value generated or added profitability, employment generation and effect on environment etc.
An appreciable amount of gas is used in the fertilizer factories for production of Urea mainly. Except the Jamuna Fertilizer Company and Karnaphuly Fertilizer Company, most of the other fertilizer factories such as Fenchuganj and Ghorashal fertilizer factories are 53 and 46 years of old. Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) (MMCF gas required to produce per ton of Urea) in these factories (46MCF/ton) is double the newly built factories (22MCF/ton). For higher yield and efficient utilization of gas and market competitiveness, the machinery and equipment of all the age old factories require immediate replacement with modern, high efficiency machineries and equipment.
On shore and off shore Drilling: For sustainable and long term gas security, utilization of indigenous gas reserve to be made limited through exploring alternative sources of energy. A joint assessment made by the United States Geological Survey (USGD) and BAPEX estimated new reserve of about 33.5 trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) gas in Bangladesh. Government should take commercial decision on conducting seismic survey and future exploration activities. Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) and BAPEX should be strengthened both technically and financially to carry out massive 3D seismic survey and on shore drilling in search of new sources of gas and oil. Expertise of internationally reputed consultants may be engaged in this regard. Provision may be made ensuring participation of engineers and technicians of BAPEX and GSB with the International companies engaged in the off shore exploration of oil and gas in order to facilitate transfer of knowledge and technology on offshore drilling and exploration technology.
Import of LNG and LPG: Presently, the requirement of natural gas in different sector is about 2.5 BCFD (Billion Cubic Feet per Day) out of which 2.0 BCFD is available from the existing gas fields with daily shortage of 0.50 BCFD. For short term gas security, the present utilization of gas from our gas reservoirs should be made limited ensuring external sources for supply of gas. Government has already made an agreement to import 500 MCFD/0.50 BCFD LNG and construction of LNG terminal at Maheshkhali is under way. This natural gas will be transferred to the gas grid after re gasification which will replenish the present shortage of supply of gas. Qatar is the world’s third largest producer of natural gas and its proven reserve is about 896 TCF. Bangladesh may enter into a long term agreement at least for 40-50 years with Qatar to import LNG 2-5 BCFD/1-2 TCFA to meet the growing demand of clean energy and for long term energy security.
Import through Gas Pipe Line: (a) Turkmenistan, a central Asian country, rich in natural gas, has the World’s fourth largest gas reserve. Turkmenistan exports gas to Asian countries and China is the largest importer of gas from Turkmenistan. Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have agreed to build a gas pipe line project named Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) with Turkmenistan to import gas from Turkmenistan. An agreement has been signed to this effect on 13 December, 2015 and the project will be operational in 2019. Under this project, 1814 Km line from Galkynysh gas field of Turkmenistan to Fazilka in India through Afghanistan and Pakistan will be built at an estimated cost of US$10.00 billion. This cost will be borne by the concerned countries. Under the agreement, Turkmenistan will supply 33 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM)/1160 BCF of gas per year out of which Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will get 5BCM, 14 BCM and 14 BCM respectively for 30 years. As regards long term energy security of Bangladesh, it is a great opportunity for Bangladesh to be a partner of this project and negotiate to have a share of about 10-12 BCM/350-400 BCF or about 1BCFD gas from Turkmenistan through this pipe line. This will ensure about 1 BCFD gas to Bangladesh grid for 30 years. Mr. Parakhat Durdyeb, Nonresident Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Bangladesh met the Energy& Mineral Resources Minister of Bangladesh recently and expressed his willingness to include Bangladesh in TAPI gas pipe line project. For the greater interest of long term energy security, Bangladesh should avail this opportunity at any cost and in no way miss this.
(b) There is a very good prospect for having sufficient amount of natural gas through pipe line from Iran. Finalization of 2200 Km long Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipe line is underway. The project cost is about US$ 7.00 billion out of which US$5.00 billion will be borne by Iran. In this regard, a preliminary agreement was signed with Pakistan in 1995 and with India in 1999. Under this agreement, Iran will supply 60 Million Cubic Meter of gas per day (60 MCMD) or equivalent to 2.2 BCFD to Pakistan and India. In consideration of the economic growth, peace and prosperity of the region, Government of Iran invited Bangladesh in 2010 to join this project. Later in 2015, after the lifting of sanction from Iran by USA, Iran urged to extend this pipe line to Bangladesh. Participation of Bangladesh to this project would create an opportunity to have a perennial source of natural gas about 1.0 BCFD. It may be relevant to mention that land based pipe line is a dedicated source with guranted consumption and is 4 times cheaper than any other option of supply of gas. For long time energy security, cheaper and sustainable source of energy, Bangladesh should make all out effort to avail this gas connectivity. There is no alternative to miss this opportunity.
(c) Myanmar is our neighbouring country having huge reserve of unutilized gas. We may make our best effort to conclude a long term agreement with Myanmar to import about 2.0-2.5 BCFD through pipe line. For our perpetual economic and strategic interest with the South East Asian countries including China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc. and long term energy security, strengthening of diplomatic relationship with Myanmar warrant top priority and firm action.
Conclusion: Accelerated and sustainable economic development is impacted by the long term and short term energy security. In order to secure the achievement of cherished balanced development and sustained double digit economic growth, energy security at least for 50 years should be ensured adopting appropriate and propitious strategies. Long term and short term energy strategy includes limited utilization of the existing indigenous gas reserve, enhancement of natural gas reserve through extensive on shore and off shore exploration, establishment of a long term dedicated and secured source of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), creation of dedicated source of hydro electric power with ownership, development of increased sources of other renewable energy, engagement with the highest priority on pipe line gas supply and enhancement of the efficiency through replacement and modernization of all public and private sector power plants and other natural gas based machinery and equipment. For creation of major investment opportunities including downstream business-gas driven environment friendly economies, balanced, sustainable economic development and growth, a comprehensive and holistic policy for long term energy security should be in place.
Government of Bangladesh