Bangladesh: Bangladesh Natural gas Profile
Natural gas reserve estimates vary widely for Bangladesh. Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) reported that Bangladesh had 5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven <!--Add this page: natural gas reserves-->natural gas reserves as of January 2006, down significantly from OGJ’s January 2005 estimate of 10.6 Tcf. It is not clear why the large downgrade of Bangladesh’s natural gas reserves occurred. In mid-2004, estimates from state-owned Petrobangla put net proven reserves at 15.3 Tcf. Bangladesh’s Ministry of Finance estimated in 2004 that the country holds 28.4 Tcf of total gas reserves, of which 20.5 Tcf is recoverable. In June 2001, the <!--Add this page: U.S. Geological Survey-->U.S. Geological Survey estimated that Bangladesh contains 32.1 Tcf of additional “undiscovered reserves.”
While estimates of the country’s reserves vary, <!--Add this page: natural gas-->natural gas is Bangladesh’s only significant source of <!--Add this page: commercial energy-->commercial energy. The government of Bangladesh estimates that natural gas accounts for 80 percent of the country’s commercial <!--Add this page: energy consumption-->energy consumption. In 2004, Bangaladesh produced 463 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, up from 429 Bcf in 2003 and more than doubling the 1994 level. Despite increasing production levels, Bangladesh has never been a net exporter of natural gas. Given the uncertain size of the country’s natural gas reserves, the government has been reluctant to export natural gas and has instead focused on meeting current and future domestic energy needs.
Exploration and Production
Natural gas exploration and production is dominated by three state-owned companies, all of which are subsidiaries of Petrobangla. Bangladesh’s largest gas production company, Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Ltd. (BGFCL), operates the Sylhet, Kailashtila MSTE, Kailashtia, Rashidpur, and Beanibazar <!--Add this page: gas fields-->gas fields. From these five fields, BGFCL produces 810 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d), or roughly half of the country’s total natural gas production. The Sylhet Gas Field Company Ltd. (SGFCL) is Bangladesh’s second largest production company, producing 162 Mmcf/d of natural gas. SGFCL operates the Sylhet, Kailashtila MSTE, Kailashtia, Rashidpur, and Beanibazar gas fields. The third state-owned company involved in natural gas production and exploration is BAPEX, which produces about 58 Mmcf/d of natural gas from the Salda and Fenchuganj fields.
To encourage <!--Add this page: natural gas exploration-->natural gas exploration, the government opened the <!--Add this page: natural gas sector-->natural gas sector to foreign investment in 1993, after initiating the First Bidding Round of Production Sharing Contracts. Foreign companies today produce 501 Mmcf/d of natural gas from four gas fields. The leading foreign producer is Chevron, which produces 331 Mmcf/d from the Jalalabad and Moulavibazar fields. Chevron also expects to begin producing an estimated 300 Mmcf/d of natural gas from the Bibiana field in October 2006. The UK’s Cairn Energy is the second largest foreign natural gas production company, producing 146 Mmcf/d of <!--Add this page: natural gas-->natural gas from Bangladesh’s lone offshore gas field at Sangu. Canada’s Niko Resources has been involved in disputes with the government after two blowouts that occurred in 2005 at the company’s Chattak (formerly known as Tengratila) gas field.
There are several other fields that may prove to hold additional natural gas resources. Petrobangla estimates that the Bibiana field, currently operated by Chevron, may contain as much as 2.4 Tcf in recoverable <!--Add this page: natural gas reserves-->natural gas reserves. Offshore natural gas fields also present large possible reserves, although minimal offshore exploration has occurred to date due to lingering border disputes with <!-- Create this article: India -->India and <!--Add this page: Myanmar-->Myanmar.
Bangladesh’s domestic <!--Add this page: natural gas pipeline-->natural gas pipeline network is operated by the Gas Transmission Company Ltd. (GTCL), a subsidiary of Petrobangla. The company began with the 120-mile pipeline connecting the Kailashtila gas field to Ashuganj. Later GTCL implemented the 40-mile Ashuganj-Bakhrabad pipeline, which completed the interconnection of the national gas grid. GTCL currently operates 480 miles of pipelines and is the sole natural gas transmission company in Bangladesh.
Most of Bangladesh’s pipeline network is concentrated in the more populated and developed eastern zone of the country. In 2000, <!--Add this page: Bangladesh-->Bangladesh completed a 20-mile pipeline across the Jamuna River, which separates the eastern and western parts of the country. In 2001, this pipeline was extended to the Baghabari natural gas-fired power plant, and a network of pipelines in the west is now starting to take shape. In June 2006, the government of Bangladesh and the <!--Add this page: Asian Development Bank-->Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $230 million loan package to improve Bangladesh's natural gas infrastructure, specifically designed to aid <!--Add this page: economic development-->economic development in the western part of the country. According to the ADB, the project includes four gas transmission pipelines, measuring 220 miles, which will transport about 360 Mmcf/d of <!--Add this page: natural gas-->natural gas to the 15 million people living in west Bangladesh.
Since 1997, Bangladesh has been working to reach an agreement with its neighbors for the establishment of a 560-mile pipeline to transport <!--Add this page: natural gas-->natural gas from <!--Add this page: Myanmar-->Myanmar to <!-- Create this article: India -->India through its territory. In January 2005, the Bengali government approved the project, contingent upon India and Myanmar accepting trade concessions and other stipulations. So far, India has not accepted the demands of Bangladesh, and GAIL, India’s state-owned pipeline operator, completed a <!--Add this page: feasibility study-->feasibility study in June 2006 of an 870-mile pipeline from Myanmar that would circumvent Bangladesh altogether. However, this option would significantly increase transport costs of natural gas from Myanmar, and the pipeline would have to travel through unstable areas in northeastern India.
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