Webinar on Future of Industrial Fuel Source in Bangladesh

Speakers urged for extensive exploration for natural gas to ensure cost effective energy supply in the industries in future. LNG and LPG are being used in the industries but the volume is very low because of its higher price. They made an opinion that still natural gas is very cost effective for our industries. They also emphasized on energy mix and energy diversification.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) organized a webinar on “Future of Industrial Fuel Source in Bangladesh: LPG & LNG” on June 19, 2021. Senior Secretary, Energy & Mineral Resources Division, Md. Anisur Rahman joined the webinar as the chief guest. Member (gas), Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Md. Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury joined as the special guest. DCCI President Rizwan Rahman chaired and moderated the webinar.

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said that energy plays a pivotal role in the economic development and industrial progress of a country. The growing energy need for diverse economic operations demand blended energy mix to offset the shortages of gas, he told. Rizwan Rahman also mentioned that to accelerate the industrial growth in a planned and more environment-friendly way, we need to put more focus on the import and production of alternative fuel like LPG and LNG alongside natural gas exploration. Currently, LNG constitutes 1.2% of the total global import which is around 1000 mmcfd against the daily demand while LPG meets 2% of domestic energy demand, he said.

He also said that the government needs to expedite the process of establishing LPG and LNG terminals, network infrastructure alongside long-term roadmap for sustainable development of this sector. In addition, considering the rising demand for LPG, LPG bottling, storage facilities, needs to be installed under the public-private partnership model. However, “tariff fixation” of these fuels needs be readdressed holistically for priortising rational cost of living and doing business industrial perspective.

Engineer Kohondkar Saleque Sufi, Former Director (Operation), GTCL, Petrobangla presented the keynote paper. He highlighted that the LNG and LPG will be the future fuel for industries in Bangladesh. He also said that for a sustainable supply of primary fuel in the industries we need to have a rational planning for utilization of gas. He also said that gas exploration at present is not enough. Bangladesh is now the 30th largest natural gas reserving country. To make LNG and LPG popular and cost effective in future, we have to enhance infrastructure of land based terminals. He also urged the government for creating an appropriate fuel utilization plan. For the industries he also suggested to use roof-top solar or renewable energy and green water harvesting method.

Md. Anisur Rahman, Senior Secretary, Energy & Mineral Resources Division said government has not stopped gas exploration rather 100 million cubic foot gas has been added to the national grid recently. It is good news that we have found new gas field in Jokigonj from where BAPEX will explore gas. Our capacity for onshore gas exploration is quite satisfactory but for offshore gas exploration we still encourage foreign explorers, he said. The market size of LPG is of 12 lakh ton and already 30 thousand crore taka have been invested in this sector. 29 private LPG operators are now active. He also informed that government will establish a LPG terminal in Matarbari with a capacity of 12 million ton where 40 thousand-ton capacity ship will be able to come. If it is done, one third cost will be reduced. Despite LPG use in the industry is very low however we need to focus on local gas exploration first, he added. He also agreed that the western side of Bangladesh is deprived in getting required gas connection. He also put emphasis on easy getting license at a relatively cheaper rate.

Md. Maqbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury, Member (gas), Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) said we have to strengthen BAPEX for gas exploration. At present we have 3300 million cubic foot gas out of which 74% comes from local gas and 26% comes from LNG. WE have to open data center. Beside that he urged upon to expedite local gas exploration and if needed we have to allow foreign explorers to come. Even in USA, Australia and Vietnam foreign explorers are working. He also said that if we can implement metered gas for all it will help us to protect system loss and it will create 10 to 12 lakh more metered connection. LPG is environment friendly and healthy and at present 1.2 million ton LPG is being used. He informed that for the first time BERC fixed coordinated LPG price in the country but in 7th or 8th July meeting will be held again to review the price and private sector has to convince BERC to review the price. If the price of LPG comes down and affordable to the lower middle income level, by the year 2025 about 3 million ton LPG will be needed.

Professor Dr. M. Shamsul Alam, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Daffodil International University said that we have to be competitive in terms of price of energy. He further recommended rationalizing and reducing the price in the end-user level. Moreover, he also urged for protecting the interest of mass consumers as well. For future industrialization, we have to ensure natural gas at a reduced price.

Mr. Faruque Hassan, President, BGMEA said gas is very important for the RMG industry and the backward linkage industry that is textile, Spinning, Dying, and Finishing. 7%-8% of the country’s total gas supply is used in the RMG sector which is very less in terms of the contribution to the economy. In the last 10 years, our gas supply has increased from 754 billion cubic feet to 975 billion cubic feet. For RMG industry LPG/LNG could be a short term solution but the strategic priority is something else. We have 144 LEED green factories and 500+ more are in the pipeline. 39 out of 100 global top rated LEED certified factories are in Bangladesh. All these green factories are having significant portion of their energy mix from the renewable sources mainly Solar PV.

Md. Shahriar Ahmed Chowdhury, Assistant Professor & Director, Centre for Energy Research, United International University (UIU) said many of us discourage coal as a primary energy source as it is not environment friendly. Future coal based power plant financing will be difficult. He said solar energy will be the cheapest power source. Last year world-wide renewable based power plants were 75%. By the year 2050, world-wide 85% electricity will come from renewable energy which is 11% - 12% now. By the year 2041, 30% of total demand of electricity will come from renewable energy.

Mr. Aameir Alihussain, Managing Director, BSRM said we need electricity more. It is true that LNG import will increase in the future. He emphasized on controlling system loss as well as increasing energy efficiency. We have to strengthen BAPEX, he said. He also urged for fuel diversification and energy mix. He also said that gas distribution in the western side of the country is not up to the expected level that impedes industrialization in that region. He also said that land-based permanent LNG terminal and distribution channel will reduce cost. However private sector should not only depend on only one fuel.

DCCI Senior Vice President N K A Mobin, FCS, FCA gave vote of thanks.

DCCI’s former Director Nuher L. Khan, Director Arman Haque and Convenor Malik Talha Ismail Bari also spoke on the occasion.

Published on: 2021-06-19

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