Semutang gas to ease Ctg crisis
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) expects to begin production of gas from Semutang gas field in Khagrachhari to help ease the deficit of gas supply in Chittagong city.
Preparations for production from the gas field have already begun, more than 40 years after the field was discovered.
High officials of the company said production of 15 million cubic feet of gas per day from the field is expected to begin by June 2011.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) has already approved a Tk 340 crore project titled “Exploration and Production Capacity Building of Bapex" in this regard.
Under this project, Bapex is to get Tk 200 crore while Bakhrabad Gas System Ltd will get Tk 140 crore. Bakhrabad Gas System Ltd is to set up a 70 km high-pressure gas pipeline using 10-inch radius pipes this year from the field to Chittagong for smooth transfer of gas.
Md Mohsin, secretary of the energy ministry and Jalal Ahmed, chairman of Petrobangla, jointly visited the Semutang gas field area earlier this month and announced the production plan from well no 5 of the field.
They said that the additional gas produced at this field would help towards beating the severe energy crisis in the country.
The government plans to supply 10 million cubic feet of gas per day to the business capital of Chittagong and the remaining 5 million cubic feet will be added to the national pipeline, sources said.
Officials said they expect to raise the production to 20 million cubic feet of gas per day soon afterwards.
The government is also thinking of setting up some production units and mills in the area to ease unemployment in Khagrachhari, Petrobangla chairman Jalal Ahmed said.
Energy Secretary Md Mohsin also said work on gas pipeline will begin once all official and legal processes have been completed.
Managing Director of Bapex Amad Uddin said the company is continuing work and research to ensure the smooth flow of gas to Chittagong city, which lies some 70 kilometres away.
At present, Chittagong city has a demand of 350-360 million cubic feet of gas per day. Of this, Bakhrabad Gas authority supplies 210 to 220 million cubic feet while 50 million cubic feet comes from Sanghu Gas field, while the national pipeline supplies some more.
Earlier, in February, Industry Minister Dilip Barua visited the gas field area. At the time he had noted that the work at industries in Chittagong was being hampered due to the gas crisis, and promised that the government has taken an initiatives to extract gas from Simutang gas field.
SEMUTANG GAS FIELD
The British company Shell and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd jointly carried out the exploration of gas in 22 acres of the area in 1963, discovering the field at Juggachhola Semutang area under Manikchhari upazila in Khagrachhari. Five wells were dug here at the time.
Both teams experimentally extracted gas and oil from the field in 1969. But the collapse of a well put a stop to work here at the time. The then Pakistan government resumed work in 1970 but that was also stopped.
In 1983, the government took initiatives to go into production but work was stopped again when the Shantibahini abducted two British engineers working here.
Exploration was resumed by Shell in 1994 under a production sharing contract but that was again dropped since they thought that production from the field would not be profitable.