Sand started to spew from the gas field that led to closure of six gas wells immediately. The Bibiana gas field has a capacity of producing 1.2 billion cubic feet gas per day. Last Saturday, there was an accident while trying to lift 1.27 billion cubic feet. Notably in 2013, the only gas field on the coast, Sangu, was shut down due to excess gas extraction.
The gas crisis escalated as gas extraction from six wells stopped simultaneously. Since then, many houses had to manage without gas supply in Dhaka city while gas supply to many areas including Savar, Gazipur, Narayanganj has been cut off or severely reduced. Affected industrialists expressed concern that export consignments could not be delivered on time.
The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources said in a statement on Tuesday that emergency repairs had to be carried out due to problems at the Bibiana gas field. As a result, gas pressure was low in some areas during the last two days. With the relentless work of experienced engineers, the crisis has gradually begun to decline. They claimed that the Chevron-operated Bibiana gas field supplied 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Production fell below 800 million cubic feet due to disruption in extraction. At present 1.10 billiob cubic feet of gas is being supplied.
According to the ministry, there is a shortage of 100 million cubic feet of gas per day. According to the information, it has been possible to start four of the six closed gas wells. Another one will resume soon. There is uncertainty regarding the remaining one. According to Prothom Alo, the industrial crisis has already started due to the gas crisis. Production in many factories has halved. The export-oriented industry, especially the ready-made garment industry, has expressed fears that it will not be able to deliver goods on time as per contracts.
Experts believe that we have more gas underground and under the sea. More exploration and extraction was needed to take advantage of this. The policy makers of the government have taken the wrong policy of importing LNG instead of trying that, due to which the energy sector has become increasingly dependent on other countries despite the estimate of sufficient gas reserves. The price of LNG has already gone up. Vessels carrying LNG are expected to arrive at the port on Thursday. In that case, it may be possible to overcome the crisis temporarily.
But to solve the gas problem, we need to focus on exploring new gas fields and extracting gas. Another issue is that, when Petrobangla has the capacity to extract gas, why do we explore and extract gas through foreign companies?