Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (BAPEX) has started production of gas on an experimental basis from a newly found field in Bhola, officials confirmed yesterday.
Test production at the country's 27th gas field began yesterday, said Md Nowshad Islam, managing director of the state-run company.
According to Nowshad, a well has been drilled. Given the flow of the gas from the well, some 20 million cubic feet of gas could be produced from the new field. Bapex plans to drill more wells in the field, he added.
On the basis of the well, it can be said that there is a reserve of about 600 billion cubic feet of gas in the field, he said.
“The reserves will go up when we will drill more wells,” Nowshad told The Daily Star, adding, gas pressure was found to be more than 4,000 (pound per square inch).
Explorers struck gas in Bheduria union located on the northern part of Bhola, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters on January 15.
The gas field has been named Bhola North and is about 32km north of the Shahbazpur Gas Field in the district. The discovery is the result of a three-dimension seismic survey carried out by Bapex.
With the new gas field, the reserves in the two gas fields in the southern district could be as much as 2 trillion cubic feet, according to government estimates and experts.
Nowshad said the discovery in Bhola increases the possibility of finding more gas fields in the southern region of the country. More initiatives would be taken to this effect, he added.
Shahbazpur gas field was discovered following a two-dimension seismic survey over 266km of area in Bhola in 1986. In the past, local and foreign experts also said more gas could be found in the district.
This led Bapex to carry out the 3D seismic survey in the island district in 2015-16. It targeted Shahbazpur East and Bhola North to find new gas and has successfully hit the natural resources in both the areas.
Last October, Bapex found 700 billion cubic feet of gas in the east of the existing Shahbazpur gas field, finding more reserves in the field.
The gas field in Bhola has the potential to become the largest reserve of natural gas in the country, surpassing Titas in Brahmanbaria. But the rest of the country might not be able to use the new-found gas because of Bhola's geographical isolation.
Like now, the gas would be used in power generation and in industries of the region. Pipelines through rivers to the national gas grid would be way too expensive.
Bhola has two power plants with the capacity to generate 225 megawatts and 30.5MW and as well as some industries. They use about 35mmcfd of gas from Shahbazpur.
“But we have the capacity to double the production of gas,” said Nowshad.
Similarly, gas production from the new field would depend on the requirements of marketing companies, according to the Bapex chief.
Construction of another 225MW plant is underway and the government plans to set up a special economic zone in the district.
According to Bapex, the country has about 11-12 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves with an annual consumption of about one trillion cubic feet.
The discovery came at a time when the government is concentrating on import of liquefied natural gas amid dwindling reserves.
In Bhola North, Bapex carried out location finalisation, geological survey and well design, while the drilling was conducted by Russian oil giant Gazprom under the supervision of the state-run company.