Energy is the prime mover of a economy which ultimately contributes to propping up the living standards of the people. The economy of Bangladesh is gaining momentum attaining a annual economic growth of 7% - a major breakthrough on the way of graduating to the tier of a middle-income country within 2021. Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla), the flagship organisation in the country's primary energy sector is entrusted with the responsibilities of exploring, developing, producing and marketing natural gas as well as extracting the country's coal resources has been playing a vital role in fuelling the economy. Industrialization is the catalyst of rapid economic growth which largely depends on the strength and efficiency of energy infrastructure. With the growing population and per capita income, the demand for energy has been on a sharp rise.
Natural gas accounts for about three quarters of primary energy supplies with the remainder coming from imported fuels and coal. Petrobangla deals with two major fossil fuels - natural gas and coal which are non-renewable. Recent reserve estimation, current gas production, consumption rates and future demand projections suggest that known recoverable reserves of natural gas will not be able to cater the growing energy needs of the country. Since the on shore gas fields are depleting, the exploration in the sea - a new opportunity that has been opened after the settlement of maritime boundaries is the prime need of the hour. Against this backdrop, Petrobangla cherishes the dream of harnessing resources from the 26 blocks in deep and shallow sea areas of 19.5 thousand square kilometers. Petrobangla is putting its best effort in living up to this challenges by taking up hydro-carbon explorations, especially signing of Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) for massive exploration in the sea. With the objective of meeting the shortfall, works are in progress for installation of a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) at Moheshkhali in Chittagong with a capacity of supplying 500 million cubic feet gas daily. The construction of transmission pipeline from Moheshkhali to Anowara, for feeding gas to the national grid from this terminal, is underway. Furthermore, steps have been taken to construct two land-based LNG terminals - one at Moheshkhali and the other at Paira port. Initiation has been taken by the Government to drill 108 wells in onshore by 2021.
Presently, high quality bituminous coal worth four and a half thousand tons is extracted daily from the country’s lone producing coal mine at Barapukuria which is being used mostly in 250 MW power plant. Studies are underway to produce coal from Dighipara coal mine vis a vis expansion of production from existing Barapukuria field. However, more diverse source of energy supply, efficient utilization of non-renewable fossil fuels and pragmatic demand management are important factors for attaining energy security to meet the challenges of coming years.
With a view to conserving and ensuring efficient use of valuable natural gas, Petrobangla has been implementing schemes to install pre-paid meters and set up meters with Electronic Volume Correctors (EVCs) and encouraging use of energy-efficient boilers. Petrobangla is also engaged in extracting granite which is used as construction materials. It may be noted that Petrobangla is a major contributor to the national exchequer. At the same time, it is saving a huge amount of foreign currency by substituting the import of energy. I am confident that the robust growth attained by the energy sector due to the pragmatic policy of the present government will led by Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina open up a new vista of economic development leading the country to achieve the status of a a middle-income country within 2021.