State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid today said the government is expected to increase gas supply by this year aiming to ensure the country’s energy security. “Our specialists and experts are working in this regard. I hope, this year we will be able to reach a better position for uninterrupted energy supply in the country,” he told a press conference at the Secretariat here. Nasrul said the energy prices would be normal, adding “A comfort zone will be created for consumers and we will not allow intolerable price hike of energy.” He said the imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be supplied to the national grid from next week, which was scheduled to supply earlier, but technical problems alongside the inclement weather forced to delay it. “Currently, 2,750 mmcfd gas is being supplied to the national grid, but the demand is 3,700 mmcfd. To meet the demand, the government has started to import LNG and expand LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) use across the country,” Nasrul said. He said the government has planned to reach LPG to 70 percent people of the country. “The vision was made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to build the country a developed one by 2041.” The state minister said the National Energy Security Day-2018 will be observed tomorrow commemorating the historic decision taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 9 in 1975. Replying to a question, he said a high-powered committee under the Prime Minister’s Office is conducting probe into the coal disappearance o Barapukuria coal mine and the government will take stern action against the people involved in the scam. “We will not tolerate any corruption. We want to make the sector free from corruption,” Nasrul assured. Meanwhile, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the National Energy Security Day-2018. In his message, President M Abdul Hamid said the country’s 71 percent energy demand in industrial sector is fulfilled by natural gas. “It is essential to improve the energy sector for ensuring overall development of the country apart from maintaining economic growth,” he said. Mentioning that the natural gas is a finite resource, he urged all to prevent wastage of natural gas and ensure its optimum use for national development. In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the greatest Bangalee of all times, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had undertaken various initiatives to develop the country’s energy sector after independence and bought five gas fields from the then British Oil Company ‘Shell Oil’ on August 9, 1975. Following his footstep, the Awami League government has given the highest importance on energy security and that is why the country’s gas production and supply has been increased during the nine and a half years of the government, she said. “The present government has discovered gas fields at Sadullapur, Srikail and Roopganj. Besides, the Bibiyana gas field has been expanded and gas is being supplied on Bibiyana-Dhanua gas pipeline,” Sheikh Hasina said. During the present government tenure, she said, the number of gas fields increased to 27 as the government discovered four new gas fields. She called upon all to be more careful in using natural gas and to prevent wastage of this finite resource. The Prime Minister said the government has undertaken a plan to dig 108 wells by 2010 aimed at increasing production of local gas alongside setting up onshore and offshore LNG terminals on the basis of the gas demand in 2041. She hoped that the observance of the National Energy Security Day-2017 would play an important role in creating public awareness in this regard.