Dhaka: August 9 is a historical day in the annals of Bangladesh’s Energy sector because on that day the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took such surprising decision on energy sector that stunned many energy experts. The tragedy is that Bangabndhu took this historical decision just six days before his death.
On August 9, 1975 Bangabandhu purchased five gas fields(Titas, Bakhrabad, Hobiganj, Rashidpur and Kailashtila) from the foreign companies at a throw away price. The price was fixed at 4.5 million pound. On that historical decision the present energy sector is standing. Simultaneously Bangladeshpurchased all the shares of Shell Oil lying with Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company. The contract was signed in a way that the whole price would be paid in 36 installments spreading in 18 years. Many considered it as throwaway price. Because the actual price was much higher than the purchased price. The Shell Oil almost became fooled at the tactical wisdom of Bangabandhu.
At that time the total gas reserve in those gas fields was 13.335 TCF. According to estimate till 2010 June 6.52 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) gas was extracted that help earning Taka 79 thousand crore. The price of total gas is Taka 1.5 lakh crore. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid thinks that due to that historical decision of purchasing the five gas fields is still helping Bangladesh to supply gas at a low price in present days.
Due to that 9th August is considered as the turning point of the country’s energy sector. Since 2010 to memorize that day ‘National Energy Security Day’ is being observed on 9th August. As the past years the Energy Ministry has taken up several programs.
The program includes sending of SMS to the consumers to use energy related ingredients more rationally, holing discussion meeting and special seminars, decorating the selected road islands, special souvenirs publishing. Directives were given to observe the day at district levels.
The government of Bangabandhu also implemented many important decisions. Government took the management of Sylhet and Chattak gas fields as those were enemy property and promulgated Petroleum ordinance.
Petrobangla was formed to mange and evaluate the whole matters of Petroleum operations. Similarly Bangbandhu established Bangladesh Mineral Exploration and Development Corporation to explore and extract all mineral resources including coal.
The two chairmen posts of the corporations were upgraded to secretary status. Bangabandhu introduced Production Sharing Contract (PSC)system by abolishing the concession system. He signed deals with five foreign companies for exploring oil-gas in the coastal areas.
The Geological survey directorate was reorganized bringing dynamism. The Petrobangla officials were sent for training in Algeria, Indonesia, India and Soviet Union and in other East European countries for appointing consultants and evaluation of Economic- Technical aspects of the MadhyaPara hard rock project.
This only example is sufficient to prove that Bangabandhu was a far sighted leader. Due to his historical decision of that day the nation is still in comfort.