Govt takes initiative to overcome energy crisis in industries: Nasrul Hamid

State minister for the ministry of power, energy, and mineral resources of Bangladesh Nasrul Hamid
File photo

State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid on Saturday said that the government has taken initiatives to overcome speedily the existing energy crisis in the industries, reports BSS.

He said that in line with that goal, multipurpose energy master plan has been adopted which includes drilling newer wells, generating wind power, setting up single mooring pipelines for oil import and increasing the production of renewable energy.

The state minister was addressing a seminar titled: “Optimum use of Bangladesh’s natural resources: Bangabandhu’s Philosophy” organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) held at its office in the capital on Saturday, said an FBCCI press release.

Nasrul said that in the election manifesto in 2009, Awami League had pledged to deliver electricity to every household by 2021. “After achieving that goal, now one of the goals of the government is to ensure energy security,” he added.

He also said that the government is working to ensure uninterrupted supply of affordable energy to households and industries.

In order to materialize this goal, Nasrul urged the entrepreneurs to set up factories and industries in the planned industrial cities.

Noting that there is misuse of gas in the country due to the establishment of industries here and there, he said, “You please set up factories in the planned industrial cities set up by the government. It’s our responsibility to supply uninterrupted energy there.”

The state minister said earlier the oil storage capacity in the country was only 30 days, but now it has been increased to 45 days. “Within a few days, the oil storage capacity of Bangladesh will be increased to 90 days (3 months),” he continued.

Referring to the huge potential of Bangladesh in biogas production, Nasrul said, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) will provide all kinds of support to the private sector if they show interest in biogas production.

Earlier, in his welcome speech, FBCCI president Md Jasim Uddin said, “Energy sector has been the most affected by the ongoing global crisis. This is one of the reasons for the rise in inflation. As fuel prices increase, the local entrepreneurs are falling behind in competitive edge in the global market.”

In such a situation, he urged the government to take urgent steps to extract local gas, coal and mineral resources to reduce the import dependence of energy.

According to the government’s estimate, the demand for natural gas will be 5,079 million cubic feet per day by the fiscal year 2024-2025, which is about six per cent more than the current demand.

LNG is already being imported to meet the country’s increasing demand with dwindling gas reserves and expanding economic activities.

However, if the import dependency continues like present, then energy imports will cost US$24 to US$30 billion by 2030. In such a situation, the FBCCI president drew the attention of the government to reduce oil and gas-based power generation and thus move towards coal and renewable power generation as an alternative.

Jashim said there is an urgent need for conducting research on the feasibility of extracting local energy from different sources, especially from water and land. “In this regard, we can utilize the experience of Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.”

FBCCI senior vice-president Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu said, “The government needs to take a politically bold decision to extract coal from the coal mines found in Rangpur region. If necessary, the population of the area adjacent to the mine could be rehabilitated and massive mining should be carried out there. This will reduce the pressure of energy crisis in the country.”

Taking part in the seminar, Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division Dr Md. Khairuzzaman Majumdar and Managing Director of Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) Md. Shoaib highlighted the information of the ongoing operations and plans of their respective organisations to ensure energy security.

In the seminar, Professor of Geology Department of Dhaka University (DU) Dr Badrul Imam presented a paper on Bangladesh’s energy potential and the possible actions.

FBCCI vice-president Md. Amin Helali, FBCCI directors, DCCI President Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, Geological Survey of Bangladesh Director Mohammad Abdul Aziz Patwari along with energy experts and business leaders took part in the seminar.