VOL 20 NO 157 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Sunday, August 04 2013
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| Shale gas exploration in search of an alternative energy sourcePublished : Sunday, 04 August 2013The geo-scientific data gathered so far during exploration of conventional oil and gas shows Bangladesh to be prospective in terms of shale gas deposits. Shale gas many be an alternative source of supply in the near future writes M S Siddiqui
Power and energy are prerequisites for higher economic growth, poverty reduction and social development. Bangladesh is facing enormous challenges to provide affordable, reliable and equitable energy supply to its citizens. A World Bank study shows that the GDP (gross domestic product) growth could be increased by 2.0 per cent with smooth supply of power and energy. The local and foreign investments are stagnated and many production facilities are unable to start production due to shortage of power. Agriculture is either short of water or becomes expensive due to irregular power supply to tube wells.
The per capita consumption of energy in Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world. Less than half of the population has access to grid electricity. Moreover, frequent power interruptions cause substantial economic losses.
Only about 25 per cent of the population has access to electricity. Consumption of energy and electricity in per capita terms is one of the lowest in the world. The present consumption of energy and electricity in the country is about 200 kilograms of oil equivalent (KGOE)/year and 130 kilowatt (KWh hours)/year respectively, in which about 65 per cent of its per capita energy is derived from biomass resources.
About 55 per cent of the country's energy supply is based on traditional biomass fuels such as crop residues, animal dung and fuel wood, 24 per cent on natural gas, 19 per cent on imported oil and coal and the remaining 2.0 per cent on hydroelectricity.
About 85 per cent of power-generating capacity of Bangladesh is gas-fired, but gas supply shortages have seriously affected power generation. Fossil energy resources in Bangladesh consist primarily of natural gas. It is estimated that there is a proven natural gas reserve of around 11.47 trillion cubic feet (TCF) in approximately 20 fields (mainly onshore). At the current rate of consumption of natural gas for electricity generation, and other sectors in fertiliser, industry and domestic areas, the total reserve of gas is estimated to last for only about two more decades. This estimate is also debatable. In addition to natural gas, Bangladesh contains small proven crude oil reserves of 5.4 million barrels and produces around 2,900 barrels per day. This hardly meets oil requirements, and emphasis has been directed towards imported fuels.
The recent discovery of sizeable coal deposits in the northwestern part of the country is of significance since its supply will greatly reduce pressure on the imports, but the coal exploration policy has remained hanging for years and the country is unable to extract the coal to meet the huge demand.
The annual consumption of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) in Bangladesh is about 92,500 tonnes, out of which 22,500 tonnes are available from natural gas and crude oil, and the requirement for the remaining quantity i.e. 70,000 tonnes, is met through import. Bangladesh is yet to construct a landing station for import of LPG in bulk import at a lower transportation and handling cost. Almost the entire requirement of fuel is met through import (about 1.2 million MT of crude oil along with 2.6 million MT of refined petroleum products per annum). Bangladesh imports about 0.6 million tonnes of coal annually to meet the domestic demand in the industrial sector and for generation of electricity.
It is calculated that at 7.0 per cent growth...
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