To mitigate costly import expenditure on liquefied natural gas (LNG), the government is eyeing to boost gas supply by adding the gas wells in Bhola to the national grid.
The Energy and Mineral Resource Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resource has planned to build a pipeline from the fields in the island district of Bhola till the nearby Feni district.
The production capacity of the operational wells in Bhola is around 120million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day, whereas the district has a demand of only 60mmcf per day.
This means, the 60mmcf, which lies unused, can be added to the national grid.
The government-owned Petrobangla has already appointed German firm ILF Consulting Engineers to conduct the feasibility study for the pipeline.
If the findings show the pipeline is feasible, then an around 115 kilometre pipeline would be built between Bhola and Feni, including a 15km subsea pipeline in the Meghna River.
Confirming the development, engineer Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah, director (Planning) of Petrobangla, told The Business Standard that the study was expected to be completed by January 2022.
Petrobangla sources said that Bhola has around 1,092 billion cubic feet (BCF) probable reserves in its two zones – Bhola north and Bhola south.
Of these, five wells in the south zone have probable reserves of 642BCF gas, while one well in the north zone has a 450BCF reserve.
The actual reserves could be higher.
Currently, the government is importing costly LNG to meet the growing energy crisis in industrial areas of Dhaka and other divisions.
The government would have to spend Tk3,842 crore per year to import 60mmcf gas per day for a year if the LNG price was $20per Metric Million British Thermal Unit.
A source at the Petrobangla said that the government could save this money by making the pipeline from Bhola to Feni, which wouldn't cost more than Tk2,000crore.
Meanwhile, the Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), the state-owned lone gas transmission company, has been tasked with finding a convenient route to bring the island's gas to the national grid.
In a discussion meeting, GTCL's Managing Director Engineer Rukhsana Nazma Eshaque informed the ministry that there were two routes.
The first gas transmission pipeline could be from the Bhola North Gas Field to Feni ICS of the national gas grid.
The alternative route could be from Bhola North Gas Field to the Khulna Gas grid, via a pipeline through Barishal.
The GTCL, however, opined that the Bhola to Feni route would be more convenient.
Following the GTCL's opinion, State Minister of Power Energy and Mineral Resource Nasrul Hamid, in a meeting held on October 19, directed Petrobangla to conduct the feasibility study by appointing the German firm.
Earlier in 2018, the GTCL had proposed a 110km pipeline from Khulna to Barishal at a cost of Tk1,150cr, but this did not come to fruition.
At present, the government imports around 650mmcf LNG per day which costs around Tk30,000cr annually.