A worrying situation indeed
It is indeed a matter of concern that the consumption of natural gas rose 11 times the amount of the recoverable reserve of the fuel discovered in the past 15 years. As New Age reported on Saturday, since 1999, 750 billion cubic feet of recoverable gas has been discovered here while as much as 8,140 bcf has been consumed. What is more worrisome is that, as an expert pointed out, the gas reserve is depleting by 1000 bcf every year as the lack of exploration increasingly forces the authorities, Petrobangla or the state-run company for exploration and distribution of gas and mineral resources that is, to extract gas from the existing gas fields at an excessive rate. It is not unlikely that if no new potential gas reserve is discovered soon, the economy may face serious problems as industrial and household activities still dependent predominantly on gas may be hampered for the lack of the fuel’s supply in the near future. Pertinently, Petrobangla has been struggling to meet the growing gas demand despite increased extraction of the fuel from the reserve already discovered for some years now.
In the first place, it is the successive governments since 1999 which are to blame for all this. They are to blame because they literally sat on the problem without taking any initiative to explore any new gas reserve most part of the period. It is widely believed that if they had engaged Bapex, a sister concern of Petrobangla, in exploring new gas fields in this period, the situation could have been different by now. Notably, Bapex was kept altogether inoperative during the period defying enormous demand on the part of experts, especially those involved with the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports, the citizen’s forum that continued to protest against the ruling quarters’ general predilections for leasing out the potential gas fields to different international oil companies on terms detrimental to national interest since it came into being in the latter half of the 1990s. Allegations have it that such inaction on part of governments in the period was intended just to let the gas crisis turn for the worse, a situation in which, people desperate to have gas supply would be compelled to end their opposition to the IOCs seeking to take over the country’s energy sector. It is, meanwhile, also true that, in terms of gas use, even the incumbents that pledged in their election manifesto to ensure ‘economic usage’ of, along with other energy resources, gas have largely failed to come out of the ad hoc policies pursued by their predecessors. As a result, demand for gas continues to expand in an unplanned manner without
taking into account its limited availability. The less said about the corruptions and irregularities in the sector, which helped misuse of the precious fuel increase manifold in the past four years and a half or so, the better.
It is indeed high time that the government took effective measures to accelerate gas exploration on the one hand and diversify the energy resources on the other.
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