POST TIME: 3 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Bhola reserves could hold over 2tcf gas

Bhola reserves could hold over 2tcf gas

The natural gas reserves in Bhola could be well over two trillion cubic feet (TCF), said engineers working in the island district at the southern end of the country. Engineers of the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) said six wells have been drilled at three gas fields in Bhola and these have proven gas reserves of 1.75 TCF. Bapex managing director Nowshad Islam told The Independent that geological and initial seismological surveys indicate more gas reserves in the vicinity of the existing fields. “It could be well over two TCF,” he said. In October last year, a large extension of the existing Shahbazpur gas field, which has 700 billion cubic feet of reserves, was found. "We initially thought it was another new gas field,” Nowshad Islam said.

In January, explorers struck gas about 32km north of the Shahbazpur gas field. The place was later termed as Bhola North-1, the 27th gas field of the country. The Bapex MD said Bhola North-1 is looking to be the most promising field in the country as per initial tests. “The gas pressure was found to be at 5,600 PSI (pound per square inch), which is the highest among all gas fields in the country,” he added.  

Nowshad Islam said after the discovery of Bhola North-1, they are optimistic of finding more gas reserves in the vicinity. “But to confirm that, we need to conduct 3D survey there. Bapex will drill more exploratory wells in Bhola north and south to extract more gas from the district,” he added.

Experts concerned have said that gas from the new reserves in Bhola will be hard to add to the national grid, as the cost of laying such a long pipeline would be huge.

As such, the gas which is being produced from the four wells at the Shahbazpur gas field is yet to be used efficiently, as there are no gas-consuming industries in the vicinity, they have noted.

The state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, said the government has taken up plans to bring gas from Bhola to the mainland. He also said the ministry is thinking of installing a 145-kilometre gas pipeline from Bhola to Barisal and Khulna to build a gas transmission system in the south and south-western regions.

He further said that a power plant or a large industry would have to be established in the area to utilise the natural resource.

Bhola has two power plants with the capacity to generate 225MW and 30.5MW of power. They use gas from Shahbazpur. The construction of another 225MW plant is underway.

The government plans to set up a special economic zone in the district, said Hamid. The state minister said experts are of the view that the new gas reserves could mitigate the impending gas crisis in the country for a considerable period of time. The yearly gas consumption of Bangladesh is about 1 TCF and the country at present has gas reserves of 11–12 TCF, according to the data of Petrobangla.