A six-month work plan has been undertaken to increase the productivity of Bapex
Commercial gas production from the recently discovered Srikail East-1 gas field in Brahmanbaria is set to start in November this year.
The field can produce around 12-13 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day to supply to the national gas transmission line.
In the meantime, drilling in two others gas fields in Noria and Jamalpur will start as well, said Md Anisur Rahman, senior secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
He said the energy division has recently undertaken a six-month work plan centring Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) amid mixed reactions over its performance.
"These initiatives are a part of that work plan undertaken to increase the productivity of the state-owned gas and oil exploration company," he said.
There is wide criticism about the productivity of Bapex and some experts have been saying that foreign companies should be hired for gas exploration and production.
"But we are committed to strengthening our company. That is why we have undertaken this work plan. A summary [of the plan] has been sent to the prime minister and she appreciated the initiative," Md Anisur Rahman added.
The plan includes gas production, drilling for gas exploration and conducting an exclusive three-dimensional survey in the south-eastern part of the country.
The Srikail East-1 gas field was discovered after a three-month-long digging of an exploratory well, which started on October 28 last year and was completed on January 31. The field could produce gas for 15 years.
Besides, drilling will start at the Naria gas field of Shariatpur under the work plan. The data found after the 2D seismic survey predicts that there could be a big reserve of gas similar to the reserve found at the Bhola North gas field.
Drilling will also begin in the Jamalpur gas field after completing the legal process as an Azerbaijani oil gas company has recently left the field without completing drilling works.
Along with these, 3D seismic survey of a 3,000km area from Feni to Khagrachari is also expected to start.
Currently, the country's total gas consumption is around 3,100 mmcf per day, of which Bapex produces about 89.6 mmcf from seven onshore gas fields – Saldanadi, Fenchuganj, Shahbazpur, Semutang, Sundalpur, Begumganj and Srikail.
The other two state-owned gas production companies – Bangladesh Gas Field and Sylhet Gas Field Company Limited – produce 789 mmcf of gas per day from wells.
However, Bapex's performance recently came under wide criticism from the government and a section of energy experts due to its failure in exploration activities.
This resulted in its discovered wells and fields being given to international oil companies for exploration. For example, the government recently engaged Russian energy company Gazprom to explore two gas fields in Bhola, both of which were discovered by Bapex.
Senior Secretary Anisur wants to restore citizen's confidence in the state-owned company again.
"A good result will be there after completing these tasks under the work plan," he added.