More gas discoveries likely
Bangladesh's prospects of unearthing more gas have brightened further after the latest discoveries in Bhola, experts said yesterday.
“I am not saying that Bangladesh is floating on gas, but I am also not saying that we don't have any more gas,” said Badrul Imam, a professor of the Dhaka University's geology department.
The fact is that there is a big amount of gas lying underground -- waiting to be used.
There is ample scope for finding petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir especially in the southern coastal region, he said.
Imam's comments came at a seminar on "Prospects of Bhola Gas Field and Energy Security", organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB) at the Dhaka Club.
State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) has started production of gas on an experimental basis from a newly found field in Bheduria union located on the northern part of Bhola.
The gas field has been named Bhola North and is about 32km north of the Shahbazpur Gas Field in the district.
Last October, Bapex found 700 billion cubic feet of gas in the east of the existing Shahbazpur gas field. The two gas fields in Shahbazpur and Bhola North have a cumulative recoverable reserve of 1.2 to 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to preliminary estimates.
Further upscale reserve growth is possible depending on additional appraisal and exploratory drillings in the island, according to Imam.
Kazi Matin Uddin Ahmed, chairman of the Dhaka University's geology department, echoed the same.
The discovery in Bhola has opened up a new horizon: before that, it was presumed that only the Sylhet basin had large gas fields, he added. Bangladesh remains one of the least explored petroleum countries in the world, as explorations have so far targeted only simple and easy-to-find fold structures, according to Imam.
“The offshore is even less explored. A more advanced and mature exploration is lacking.”
He said the recent gas discoveries in Bhola have placed the island and the southern coastal belt as a potential major natural gas hotspot in the making.
A dedicated exploration campaign is required to truly unearth the reserve potential in the area, Imam said.
Revisiting the database of earlier wells drilled and abandoned in the southern coastal areas pointedly show that these are not dry; they rather show signs of gas flow.
The reason they did not yield positive output include use of overbalanced mud, unwillingness to produce tight gas sand, peripheral well, improper location, incomplete testing and so on.
Retesting and/or running drilling programmes in these prospects with appropriate technology may lead to gas discoveries in previously declared dry wells, he added. The government is working on two fronts, said Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister.
“We are exploring new prospects. Besides, we are importing liquefied natural gas to keep the economy running.”
LNG will be added to the national network within the next two to three months, he added.
Tumanov Sergey, managing director of Gazprom EP International Investments, said the Russian oil company can work with Bangladesh in different ways, as it has expertise and procedures. Arun Karmaker, chairman of the FERB, and Sadrul Hasan, executive director, also spoke.