Desperate efforts to hike gas price, appeal to BERC
The gas companies have started the process of increasing the price of gas, the proposals of two companies have already been submitted to the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC). BERC chairman Abdul Jalil confirmed to Barta24.com that the two proposals were being sent back as they were not legal.
The BERC chairman, without naming any company, said one or two applications had been received for tariff changes. They are being sent back as they are not appropriate according to the law and rules. They have been asked to submit application as per rules.
Another source in the commission claimed that the applications of Western Gas Company and Jalalabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Limited have been submitted. Engineer Shoaib Ahmed Matin, managing director of Jalalabad, told Barta24.com that the proposal for tariff change was being processed and he did not want to say where the application was. It is not possible to comment further at this time.
Mohammad Solaiman Gazi, general manager (accounts) of Western Gas Company, admitted that he had sent a proposal to BERC to change the tariff. "I can't say anything more at the moment," he told Barta24.com. Is there any information about the cancellation of the proposal by BERC? In response to such a question, he said, so far the matter is beyond my knowledge. Solomon Gazi declined to comment on how much the proposed increase was.
LNG (liquefied natural gas) prices continue to rise, struggling to supply 35.89 (MMBTU) in October tenders. The minimum bid for the new tender is 50 dollar. In the current financial year, there is a fear of a deficit of about Tk. 70 thousand crore in the previous fiscal year. I can't wait to tell you where I will stand if I bring LNG at the new price. There is no alternative without importing again. Even if 1 thousand MMCFD is imported, 100% supply cannot be ensured. Reducing imports could exacerbate the gas crisis, shutting down power plants, industries and fertilizer plants.
The Energy Division wants to increase subsidies. But the finance department has made it clear that it is not possible to increase the subsidy. It is not possible to give money beyond the budget allocation of Tk. 12 thousand crore. We have to coordinate from our own funds. That is why the Energy and Mineral Resources Division is now seeing no change other than raising prices. The ministry has been fixing the wholesale price of gas i.e. the purchase price of the distribution company. And BERC sets the customer level price. That's why companies are reportedly pushing for higher prices. It is also being considered whether it can be done through a special order without a public hearing through the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission.
According to Petrobangla sources, a subsidy of Tk. 9,331 crore was sought from the finance division last November. But so far only Tk. one thousand crore has been found. At a meeting of the Energy Division held on December 28, Energy Division Secretary Anisur Rahman(now on PRL) sought money from finance division.
The process of importing LNG from abroad to address the gas crisis has been widely criticized from the beginning. LNG regasification from Qatar and Oman was being done with two FSRUs (Floating Storage Regasification Units) at Maheshkhali. An FSRU is now closed due to a torn mooring point. On the other hand, Qatar and Oman have stated that they will reduce the supply of LNG next year. Due to this, the Energy Division has not been able to find a qualified contractor even after tendering.
An alternative to LNG could be to strengthen domestic oil and gas exploration. But the issue has been neglected for a long time. The 1995 Energy Policy called for the drilling of four exploration wells a year, but no government complied. Only 40 exploration wells have been drilled in Bangladesh since independence, while Tripura has drilled 160 in its small size. Tripura has drilled 160 wells and discovered only 11 gas fields. The first well was dug on the Bangladesh border in 1910. To date (in 110 years), 26 gas fields have been discovered by digging 95 wells. Apart from this, there are some fields like Mubarakpur and Kashbar. In which gas was found to be dark but not declared commercially livable.
However, the present government demands to be applauded in this case. They are digging search wells as well as carrying out extensive operations. Out of 40 wells in the 50 years of independence, almost half of the 11 wells of the present government i.e. 19 wells have been dug. The Bangabandhu government dug 9 wells in its three and a half years. Of these, 7 were offshore and 2 were on the mainland. And in 12 years, only 12 exploration wells have been dug. The BNP and the caretaker government dug only two wells from 2001 to 2006.etrary he suggested an increase in gas prices for industrial and power components.