Vol. 5 Num 990 Wed. March 14, 2007  

Limited Gas Resources
Exploitation of other sources needed
Tapan tells AmCham meet

Bangladesh cannot rely on natural gas for its future energy supply and must exploit other sources, especially coal, Energy Adviser Tapan Chowdhury said yesterday.

"Present natural resources are not enough to meet the ever-growing future demand of the country, " the adviser told a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Dhaka.

"With limited known reserves of natural gas, it will be inappropriate to rely heavily on natural gas. It is essential that for future needs, and for the security of energy supply, other sources of energy, especially coal, are given due importance in the energy planning of this country," he said.

The government is expected to finalise its new coal policy within a short time. However the government has already come under criticism for saying it may consider leasing out the coalmines to foreign companies.

Tapan said such criticism was misleading. "I want to ensure you that the present government will not make any policy that hurts the country's own interests."

The present commercial energy mix of Bangladesh is about 68 percent natural gas, 28 percent oil and oil substitute, 3 percent coal and 1 percent others.

In order to meet the gas demand forecast, significant investment is required in both exploration, production and transmission sectors, which have been defined in the Gas Sector Master Plan, the adviser said.

"In order to meet the supply challenge, Bangladesh must look to public/private investment in to the tune of US dollar 8 to 10 billion in the period to 2025," he said.

The energy adviser also urged the local private sector and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations.

In reference to the huge losses of Power Development Board (PDB), the energy adviser said it is not possible to say that PDB will not lose anymore as it would be difficult to change everything overnight. However loses at the PDB would be reduced significantly, he said.

Andrew L Fawthrop, president of AmCham, and A Gafur, executive director, were also present at the meeting.

Energy Adviser Tapan Chowdhury (2-L) speaks at a meeting of American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) in Dhaka yesterday. Charge d'Affaires of US embassy Geeta Pasy (L), President of the chamber Andrew L Fawthrop (2-R) and AmCham Executive Director A Gafur are also seen