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    'Expedite domestic gas, coal exploration'

    March 14, 2023 - New Nation


      Dhaka, March 14 -- Expedite efforts to explore domestic natural gas and coal resources to ensure the country's future energy security, speakers at a seminar on Sunday suggested, criticising the government's 'lethargic' approach so far in this regard.

      They also emphasised ensuring sustainable development instead of 'mere development' to accelerate integrating the overall economy.

      They made the observations at a session on 'Energy Security' at the Bangladesh Business Summit, organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.

      State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid was the chief of the session, while former principal secretary at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Abul Kalam Azad was the keynote speaker.

      President of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Bangladesh and former president of FBCCI Mahbubur Rahman was the guest of honour at the session on 'Strategic Approach for Energy Security to Attain Sustainable Growth."

      "We could not harness our natural gas and coal yet which is unfortunate," Mr Azad said in his keynote presentation, informing the meeting that Bangladesh has around 3.30 billion tonnes of coal reserves, enough to meet the country's overall energy demand for 300 years. If 25 per cent of the underground coal can be extracted, it would meet domestic demand for at least 75 years, said the former principal SDG (sustainable development goal) coordinator.

      ICCB President Mahbubur Rahman appreciated the government for ramping up the country's overall electricity generation capacity by five fold over the past 14 years, but was critical about the 'surplus' generation capacity.

      He stressed the need for expediting oil and gas exploration by both local and foreign firms to ensure the country's future energy security.

      As the panel discussant, Summit Group Chairman Mohammed Aziz Khan also stressed on expediting exploration activities for utilising the domestic natural gas and coal resources.

      He also suggested increasing cross-border electricity trade to meet the country's mounting electricity demand.

      Mr Khan also demanded further extension of the special power act, under which the government awarded a number of power and energy projects bypassing competitive tenders.

      Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE Gas Power for South Asia Deepesh Nanda urged the government to utilise the potentials of carbon capture in the abandoned oil and gas fields and take the advantage of carbon trading.

      Max Group Chairman Ghulam Mohammed Alomgir said the country's overall development should be made sustainable so that it never slips.

      The growth of overall electricity generation took place not in a holistic way, he said, adding that transmission and distribution networks should also be developed. The growth of electricity consumers should also be taken care of, said Mr Alomgir, speaking as a panelist.

      He also demanded duty cuts in industries for the sake of consumption of 'surplus' electricity and increased employment opportunities.

      Speaking as the chief guest state minister Nasrul Hamid said ensuring uninterrupted and quality energy to the end users especially to the industries is now the major challenge.

      The government has increased overall natural gas supplies from around 1,600 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in 2009 to around 2,750 mmcfd with increased exploration activities in the local gas fields, he said.

      He also argued in favour of 'surplus' electricity generation capacity and termed it a necessary feed stock to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply. Around 10 per cent of the overall electricity generation requires to be kept as standby and another 10 per cent under maintenance. Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from The New Nation. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com


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