Bangladesh eyes massive gas output by 2013

Bangladesh maps out plan to hike natural gas supply by 63% in a year

Bangladesh has mapped out a plan to hike natural gas supply to its domestic market by 63.25% to 3.91 Bcf/d in 2013 to meet rising demand, a senior government official said Tuesday.

The country’s natural gas output currently hovers around 2.15 Bcf/d against demand for 2.7-3 Bcf/d. If the plan is executed in full, it will have a surplus of 80,000 Mcf/d in 2013 when demand is forecast at 3.12 Bcf/d, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources official said.

Under the plan, US oil and gas major Chevron will increase output in Bangladesh by 400,000 Mcf/d, state-owned gas companies will ramp up by 465,000 Mcf/d and the balance 500,000 Mcf/d will be sourced from imported LNG, the official said.

Chevron is set to boost output at its Bibiyana gas field, which was producing at 771,000 Mcf/day as of Monday, by 360,000 Mcf/d, and at its Moulavi Bazar gas field, which was producing at 61,000 Mcf/d as of Monday, by 40,000 Mcf/d from December, he said.

Russian gas major Gazprom will start drilling from November to ramp up gas output at the country’s state-owned gas fields under contracts with three subsidiaries of state-owned Petrobangla, he added.

The country is also finalizing the evaluation of bids from three international players to set up its first LNG import terminal, on Moheshkhali island in the Bay of Bengal, which it wants to see started up by 2013. It is seeking a floating LNG import terminal with a capacity of 5 million mt/year, regasification capacity of at least 500,000 Mcf/d and berthing and mooring facilities for LNG ships with a capacity of 138,000-260,000 cubic meters.

Petrobangla plans to award the contract within weeks on a build-own-operate-transfer basis for 15 years.

Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding to import 4 million mt/year of LNG from Qatar Petroleum in January 2011, and now permits its private sector to import LNG under a new policy.

The government is also mulling more than doubling its funding for oil and gas development projects to Taka 16.14 billion ($198 million) in its July 2012-June 2013 fiscal year from Taka 7.76 billion a year earlier to expedite energy sector development, Platts reported earlier.

The country’s economy has been growing at an average of 6%/year since 2003, boosting energy demand by around 14%/year.

–Mohammad Azizur Rahman,

–Edited by Wendy Wells,