Energy security: In the Context of Reserve Natural Gas of Bangladesh

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Energy security: In the Context of Reserve Natural Gas of Bangladesh


Energy Strategy is one of the challenging issues for Bangladesh. Energy Strategy is to be seen in the light of the Government’s overarching goal of poverty reduction, and to provide energy to all in the country within a specific time, to meet the challenges of the PRSP, and to make Bangladesh a growing nation. This paper attempts to highlight the problems now being faced in the energy sector of the country in proving reliable energy for its overall development. The various issues and options for framing an Energy Strategy are examined and their benefits assessed.

Energy is a factor of the well being of the people and is a production factor of the commercial and industrial sectors. As a result, energy is a prime mover of the country’s economic development in the long and short term. In order to attain continuous and sustainable economic development, it is essential that energy supplies be adequate and secure, at reasonable prices, and that due consideration be given to maintain the country’s environment.

Bangladesh does not possess adequate and varied conventional sources of energy. The most significant source of commercial energy in Bangladesh is natural gas. Other sources of energy in the country are coal, oil and electricity. One of the greatest impediments to development is the low availability of energy. The GOB should ensure maximum utilization of natural gas and use it to generate electricity to boost development and in the agricultural sector in an effort to have surplus in food grain production.

Developing the natural gas sector in Bangladesh will have positive economical and social impacts as long as obstacles such as corruption and environmental pollution are minimized. It is most urgent that the GOB decide how to develop and utilize our natural gas endowment most efficiently in power generation to boost the overall economic development of Bangladesh and in the agricultural sector to achieve self-sufficiency in food grain production. The GOB should try to overcome the major impediments to growth which include inefficient enterprises, inefficient use of natural gas and corruption. The GOB should also take appropriate and stern measures to eradicate corruption in the energy sector. National interest should get priority over personal or political gains.


In this paper as research tool for data collecting and analyzing secondary literature review has used. Due to the reality and lack of resources it was not possible to obtain for primary data collection like taking interviews of the resource persons. As a matter of fact for preparing this paper, lack of availability of relevant academic books and journals was also a great impediment. Due to these limitations for collecting data and resource this paper as heavily dependent on websites.

Natural Gas: Formation and Exploration of Natural Gas in Bangladesh

Natural Gas is a naturally occurring combustible mixture of hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon gases found in porous geological formations beneath the earth’s surface. The principal component is methane. It also contains ethane, propane, butane, and pentane. Natural Gas is formed from fossils being subjected to compression under the surface of the earth, at very high pressure over a long period of time. It is colorless, shapeless, and odorless in its original form and it is combustible. The chemical reaction that takes place when methane combines with oxygen, results in the emission of carbon dioxide, water and energy. Natural gas is a more advantageous source of energy than gasoline or coal as it creates less pollution and releases potentially less harmful byproducts when burnt. The GOB should focus and monitor the exploration of natural gas for the best interests of the country.

The exploration of natural gas in Bangladesh is a direct outcome of oil exploration. People had long suspected that oil might be abundant in this part of the world. As a result, in the early 1900, the Burma Oil Company extended its exploration in to Bangladesh. The first well ever to be drilled in Bengal was at Sitakund in 1914. It was a dry well (a dry well is any exploratory or development well that does not find commercial quantity of gas). Later in 1923-33 Burma Oil drilled two wells at Patharia in Sylhet. One of those wells reportedly flowed oil but its commercial viability could not be ascertained and the project was abandoned. The World Wars and other factors marked the end of oil and gas explorations for a long time in this part of Asia, then known as British India and later East Pakistan. Since the first discovery of natural gas at Haripur in May 1955, exploration of oil and gas resources has led to the drilling of 138 wells and discovery of 24 gas fields and one oil field. At present, 59 wells operating at an average volume of 1490 millions muck/day. Chatak gas field was the first field in Bangladesh to begin production. In 1960 it began supplying gas to a cement factory and the pulp and paper mill. Out of 22 gas fields, 12 fields are now in production. Shell Oil Company, a British-Dutch joint company, discovered large gas reserves at Rashidpur (1960), Titas (1962), Kailashtila (1962), Habiganj (1963) and Bakhrabad (1969). The discoveries of these reserves put Bangladesh on the world map as a prospective gas region.

The decision to attract foreign oil companies and investors was made by 1974, two years after the liberation of Bangladesh. The Government signed production sharing contracts (PSC) with 6 reputed oil companies. The companies were Union Oil, Arco, Ashland of USA, Nippol Oil of Japan and Ina Naptaplin of Yugoslavia. In the next three years nine exploration wells were drilled. A small-size gas field discovery off-shore of Kutubdia was found but the companies abandoned the project as they failed to find it commercially viable.

In 1988, the GOB formulated a new model Production Sharing Contract (PSC) to accelerate natural gas exploration and the country was divided into 23 gas exploring blocks. The first round bidding for petroleum exploration by International Oil Companies (IOC) in Bangladesh was announced in September 1993. PSCs were signed for most of the 23 blocks on offer on a first come first serve basis. Of the eight blocks then under contract two UK companies Cairn and Shell were assigned to explore Blocks 15 and 16 in Chittagong. The US companies Occidental Oil (Blocks 12, 13 and 14 in Sylhet),Rexwood Oakland (Blocks 17 and 18 in Cox’s Bazar) and United Meridian Corporation (Block 22 in the Chittagong Hill Tracts) also contributed immensely to the history of gas production in Bangladesh. The blocks are land divisions leased out by the government for oil/gas exploration and extractive activities by multinational companies. After a company obtains the rights to explore a prospect, it sends geologists and geophysicists to the assigned blocks of Bangladesh and tries to locate gas deposits. They search for commercially exploitable volumes of natural gas reservoirs to develop and produce. Once a potential natural gas deposit has been located by a team of exploration geologists and geophysicists, it is up to a team of drilling experts to actually dig down to where the natural gas is thought to exist. The drilling process is expensive even though modern technology has improved. The decision to invest is a risky one because an exploratory well might be unsuccessful or marginally viable. Drilling a well is a highly mechanized process. Progress toward the payoff zone, the formation beneath the surface where hydrocarbon materials exist, will proceed at varying rates depending on the pressure of the formations where drilling is planned. It can take between seven and thirty days to complete the drilling process alone. The experts have to drill carefully to avoid blowouts, which is the uncontrolled flow of gas, oil or other fluids from a well, due to gas leakage.

Obstacles to the Natural Gas Industry

In Bangladesh the natural gas extraction process has marked environmental, economical and social effects. Blowouts and irresponsible dumping of waste from the explorative wells are the main causes of environmental pollution, disruption of social life and economical losses. Blowouts can have several serious negative impacts. The blowouts at the natural gas fields at Magurchara in 1997 and at Tengratila in 2005 clearly show the environmental damage and disruption of normal social life. The damage to the environment and economical losses caused by the blowouts was due to irresponsible and inefficient management by Occidental and NIKO. The GOB should concentrate more on minimizing the negative impacts on the environment and the disruption of normal life due to inefficient management. A massive blowout took place at Magurchara under Moulavibazar District on June 15, 1997, when Occidental started drilling its first well. The blowout severely damaged the environmental, economical and social life of Bangladesh. The main question coming rising from this blowout is whether Bangladesh is entitled to claim compensation from the contractors for the damage.

The blaze caused by the blowout was as high as 91meters and damaged the surrounding 700-acres of reserved forest, rich in flora and fauna, cropland and villages. Well Flow Dynamics Company engaged in the relief well drilling admitted damage to tea plantations, surrounding forests, roads and the main rail road track in the Northeast corner of Bangladesh. The Investigation Committee formed by the GOB reported that negligence on the part of Occidental was responsible for the disaster.

The blowout caused a serious imbalance in the ecosystems of the surrounding area by destroying the natural forests. The soil of the region had been ruined by the explosion and it not only lost its fertility but also became unsuitable for any heavy constructions. According to some renowned soil scientists of Bangladesh, the land will be useless for the growth of plant life for the next fifty years. Environmentalists say a massive loss of green life and extinction of wildlife species in that region. Unocal suggested that the Ministry of Environment and Forest, GOB, use internationally recognized experts to assess the environmental damage. The GOB’s claim of 105 million US dollars as compensation for the environmental damage still remains unsettled.

The Magurchara disaster also caused severe damage to habitats. The tribal group “khasi Punji” became the worst victim of the disaster. Although the disaster left them homeless, no effective measures were taken to rehabilitate the natives. Their suffering continues. The Niko scandal is an example of how an incompetent company damages the ecological setting, disrupts social life and incurs huge economical loss during exploration of natural gas. Proposals by Niko Resources, a small Canadian company, was rejected on both technical and financial grounds in 1997 by official experts, almost a decade later however, Niko entered in the Bangladesh gas sector. Niko’s plan to enter the country’s energy sector in a joint venture with BAPEX was blocked by protests from experts of Petrobangla and newspaper reports. So the government of Sheikh Hasina did not approve the deal. But after the change in government, BAPEX signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Niko in 2003. (Khan) The first blowout at Tengratila, which occurred in January 2005, left thousands of people homeless. Toxic gas emission forced local residents to abandon their homes and live like destitute in safe areas. The immense pressure underneath the surface caused tremors in the surrounding areas. Niko did not have the technical expertise to extinguish the fire. The GOB neither published the investigation committee’s report on the loss incurred, nor did it claim compensation for the environmental damage caused by this blowout. Niko, however, compensated the locals who were affected by fixing their water wells and paid them cash to rebuild the houses.

After a long delay Niko started drilling a relief well at that site again and proved their lack of skill with due to a more severe blowout on 24th June 2005. This second blowout triggered wide spread protests from most conscious citizens as well as from the major political parties, demanding cancellation of the deal with Niko. The GOB then justified that the relief well must be drilled and cancellation of the deal will make it difficult to find another company to finish the job.

The other factor contributing to environmental pollution and health hazard is the irresponsible and inefficient handling of waste during the drilling process. When well-drilling begins, the process uses “drilling mud” that may contain water, oil, heavy metals and toxic chemicals. This mud, containing toxic levels of benzene, a known carcinogen, and lead, which can impede mental development in children, is dumped by the workers into areas near drinking wells. A second type of waste, brine called “produced water,” is dumped into nearby streams. Produced water is considered dangerous primarily because it normally contains high levels of salt that can kill flora and fauna.

Utilization of Natural Gas in Bangladesh

The GOB has the opportunity and necessity for using natural gas in various ways.

Natural gas can be either used as fuel or used as a raw material for producing electricity, fertilizer or any other industrial goods. At present, power takes a major share of gas, and fertilizer comes next. Industry takes third position. In domestic fuel use, only a small percentage of people have access to the piped gas. The demand for gas is rapidly rising in the country as it moves towards industrialization. It has been estimated by Petrobangla that over 80% is consumed by the power and fertilizer sectors while the remaining 20% is mainly consumed by industry and households.

Although natural gas is used in many sectors here in Bangladesh, the GOB could target two sectors, electricity and fertilizer, to increase efficiency and production. The country’s annual fertilizer production of more than two million tons and annual power generation of 3,500 MW (megawatts) would have been very difficult and expensive without natural gas. Both sectors play an important role in the growth of different industries within small cities, urban areas, and rural villages which in turn could provide the momentum needed for national development.

Because of the fast population growth, the amount of per capita cultivable land is declining very fast. In order to survive as a nation, and to thrive in the future, Bangladesh will have to shift from an agricultural based economy to an industrial economy. Consequently, the power generation will have to increase significantly to achieve that goal. Electrification of the whole country should be taken as the top most priority.

Electricity, which is an essential requirement for economic and social development, plays an important role in the development of the Bangladesh economy. It is a main part in the efforts to reduce poverty. The prospect of using natural gas to generate electricity is looking bright for Bangladesh.

The GOB has permitted the installation of power plants to meet the growing demand in the power sector of Bangladesh. The cost of power production can be reduced if the power plants use gas instead of oil. Natural gas burns cleaner than oil and causes less damage to the environment. Jobs and development associated with such a mega-project are extras. The amount of electricity production will have to increase significantly, should Bangladesh decide to increase industrial activities and to bring all her citizens under a national electricity grid.

New England Power Company (NEPC), which has set up a power plant in Haripur near Naraynganj, Dhaka, had estimated that the cost of power generation could be reduced by almost 25% if it uses natural gas to generate power. However, there is a huge economic involvement. A compressor worth 6.17 million USD is needed to convert the existing gas pressure of 600 PSIG (per square inch gas) to 375 PSIG which is needed to operate the Haripur plant smoothly. Although the conversion process is a matter of 3 months, the plant is yet to receive gas due to inefficient management by the energy sector of the GOB.

The 400MW Combined Cycle gas-fired power station, built by the US-based Allied Energy Systems Corporation, is now in operation at Meghnaghat in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) made a 22-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the new owner of the plant, the British company CDC Globeleq. The deal secured the world’s lowest rate for BPDB. The success of the project has prompted PDB to consider a second constructing phase Meghnaghat Phase-2 to solve power shortage in the country to some extent. PDB also plans to establish more plants to meet the country‘s demand in the power sector by 2007. To attract Independent Power Producers (IPP), the Power Sector Reform Policy approved by the GOB offered incentive packages. The IPP were offered exemption of Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported capital machinery and equipment.

By the end of 2002, there were nine major power plants using natural gas to produce electricity under PDB. Some Independent Power Producers (IPP) was also active in the electric power generation. A 360-MW gas-fired combined-cycle plant at Haripur, which began operation in October 2001, and a 450-MW gas-fired combined-cycle plant at Meghnaghat, which began operation in November 2002 were among the first IPPs to operate in Bangladesh.

In 1998, the GOB adopted a Small Power Generation Policy to encourage Development of small local generation projects of up to 10-MW in capacity in remote areas. In 2003, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed to financially help the rural electrification program. All these projects aim to increase power generation and to reduce the country’s power shortage.

Ammonia and Urea Fertilizer

One of the best ways of utilizing natural gas is perhaps in the production of fertilizers. The advanced production technology and the vast experience the country has in operating urea fertilizer plants has accounted for approximately 22% usage of the natural gas now produced in fertilizer production. Natural Gas Fertilizer Factory (NGFF), the first ammonia-urea complex, used natural gas as fuel from the Sylhet gas Field in the early 1960’s. Bangladesh has now seven ammonia-urea complexes with a total installed capacity of 2,895.700 tons (t) of urea and 1, 886,700 t of ammonia per year. In 1972, the country had only two such complexes. The seven urea complexes have a connected gas load of 8.18 million standard cubic meters and the annual consumption of all these plants is approximately 2.55 billion cubic meters.

The agriculture sector is the single largest contributor to income and employment generation and a essential element in the country’s challenge to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. The GOB and the private sector should work jointly to modernize the agricultural sector. The fertilizer sector based on natural gas has drastically changed the social life of the people and has ensured self-sufficiency in food grain production.

The Government has therefore given highest priority to this sector to enable the country to meet these challenges and to make this sector commercially profitable. Since Bangladesh is ideally located near India and China, the two largest urea consuming countries in the world, together with the fact that the south east and far east Asian countries have a shortage of urea and ammonia, Bangladesh has the potential to attract foreign investment in the fertilizer sector. The continual use of nitrogen based chemical fertilizers (urea/ammonia) reduces the fertility of the soil. This problem of soil depletion can be solved using organics compounds or alternate fertilizers as potash or phosphate fertilizers.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

The GOB has given emphasis to the use of environmental friendly fuel CNG in the transport sector in an attempt to reduce the air pollution in Dhaka and other cities. The GOB has a plan to convert vehicles used by government and semi-government office by the end of 2005. To encourage the use of CNG in the transport sector, equipments imported for conversion of vehicles, has been exempted from taxes. Local as well as foreign private resources are encouraged to invest in all phases of the CNG industry.

The use of CNG as a transport fuel is beneficial to the country in many ways. First; toxic emission from CNG run vehicles is lower than that of either gasoline or diesel-fueled engines. Secondly, the country would save a lot of money that it would have otherwise spent on importing oil. The people of Bangladesh also benefit from this low cost fuel. The cost of driving a gasoline fueled vehicle is 5 times more than a CNG fueled engine over the same distance.

Domestic Fuel Use

The use of firewood is increasing at an alarming rate because of the population boom, resulting in ecological imbalance. 73.1% of the total energy consumption comes from biomass fuel, for example manure and fire wood. The use of biomass has reduced the forest cover in Bangladesh from 15.6% in 1973 to less than 9% at present. One of the adverse affects of deforestation is an increase in flooding propensity.


The GOB is in a dilemma, as exporting substantial amounts of gas will reduce the amount available to domestic industry and possibly hinder the sustainability of future industrial growth, making it vulnerable to international gas prices. On one hand, the GOB needs foreign exchange for immediate investment in the energy sector. If new exploration and production of natural gas is not ensured now, Bangladesh might have to import gas in the near future. Lack of funding has brought Petrobangla to a stop and no recent exploration projects are in effect. Since such exploration projects are costly, exporting natural gas to neighboring India is a recommended solution. The major drawbacks in exporting natural gas are the proven reserve, which is insufficient to meet the country’s mid-term domestic demand. At the same time, the IOCs, Asian Development Bank, World Bank and other foreign aid donors are exerting pressure on the GOB to export gas to neighboring India.

The IOCs are investing a major share of the country’s total foreign direct investment (FDIs) in the energy sector. Petrobangla has signed a PSC with the IOCs to buy gas at cost recovery price. Since Bangladesh has financial limitations, the GOB cannot pay the IOCs. As a result, the pressure from the IOCs to export gas is gaining momentum. Although a provision in the PSC allows gas export in liquid natural gas (LNG) form, the IOCs have now raised the issue of exporting gas through pipelines to India. The U.S.’s Energy Information Administration estimated Bangladesh’s net proven natural gas reserve at 15.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and the country’s probable reserve at 32.1 Tcf. The US government is exerting pressure on the GOB to give concessions to US based oil companies to export natural gas from Bangladesh. The IOC’s will not be interested in further exploration and are threatening to leave the country if no concrete decision on the export issue is taken by the GOB soon. Bangladesh like most underdeveloped countries is to a great extent dependant on foreign assistance and therefore Bangladesh is not in a position to go against their interest. Chevron, a US based corporation, involved in natural gas production in Bangladesh, has already proposed that a pipeline be constructed to facilitate the export of natural gas to India.

On the other hand, the majority of the people in Bangladesh consider exporting gas to be against the interest of the people and the nation. The general public and opposition political parties have threatened to obstruct the construction of the proposed pipeline. The GOB should bear in mind that the per capita energy consumption of Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world.

There have been lots of talks in the press in the recent past about the possibility of gas export from Bangladesh to India. Apparently, some foreign companies and donor organizations are keen on the idea of exporting gas from Bangladesh. Although the domestic use of natural gas is preferred to by the majority, some politicians and bureaucrats are also in favor of exporting gas to neighboring India without thinking about the gas based industries and power plants which will be bound to shut down should gas reserves exhaust. As exact measuring of the existing gas reserve is not possible right now, it is not wise to export for the sake of earning only. The major opposition political party the Awami League (AL) officially is committed to considering natural gas exports only if Bangladesh’s proven reserves will cover 50 years of domestic demand. The GOB has not yet taken any decision in favor of gas export. It cannot afford to irritate the public feelings now that the general elections are impending. Most people expect no decision on the export issue of natural gas before the next general elections in 2006.


Investments in the energy sector often have long time horizons. Infrastructure and production installations have long lifetimes, and it takes time to introduce new technologies. It is, therefore, necessary to think in the long term when setting energy policies. In the long term, there would be four major challenges:

(a) Security of supply. Rapidly rising energy consumption around the world puts greater pressure on global resources. Most of oil imported by Bangladesh would be from politically unstable regions.

(b) Growth and economic development. Globalization has lead to increased international competition, and Bangladesh would face new commercial challenges.

(c) Government’s vision of the sector. It is the intent of the government to provide electricity to all by 2020. Export of gas would be considered only if there would be surplus after meeting the country’s need for fifty years.

(d) Use of alternative and renewable energy resources. Development of alternative energy resources such as coal is of prime importance, and for ensuring energy security. A Renewable Energy Program would have the mission of fulfilling basic electricity requirements in the rural areas by supplementing the government’s vision of electrifying the whole of Bangladesh by 2020. New technologies are reducing the costs and increasing the possibilities of renewable energy sources. The Government would have to meet these challenges with an energy strategy, which ensures a balance between security of supply, respect for the environment and economic growth in the challenging world. The energy strategy should be seen in the light of the government’s overall strategy to achieve the overarching goal of poverty reduction, and bringing poverty down by 50 percent by the year 2015.

The long-term energy strategy is to meet demand at least cost to the economy through a competitive energy industry – with a minimum of government intervention. But there is no “perfect” model, so each country has to adopt its own approach. However, even in countries that have gone ahead with adopting their energy strategy, modifications are still being introduced in light of experience. This is due to a sharper appreciation of the segments of the industry that can be competitive remaining natural monopolies.

It is necessary to adopt a pragmatic strategy

• recognizing that “natural monopolies” could be rendered competitive;

• appreciating the fact that state owned utilities are poor managers of commercial businesses, resulting in inefficient operations;

• acknowledging that national development budget cannot accommodate financing all the investment requirements of the energy sector and that alternative funding has to mobilized;

• recognizing that use of less energy more efficiently, programs to improve performance and shift consumption from peak periods are usually a good investment for both the consumer and the producer. They also benefit the environment;

• accepting the fact that donor support for large energy projects is shrinking; and

• raising funds through privatization.

In fulfillment of covenants of multilateral donor agencies, the government started taking reform initiatives in the energy sector, but, again, without a strategy. Some measures have already been taken to address the issues of the energy sector. A Hydrocarbon Unit has been set up at Energy & Mineral Resources Division, and Power Cell has been established under the Power Division, both to facilitate the reform process. Further, an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Act has since been passed, and a Commission has been set up, though not fully, and it is still not operative in the real sense of the term. Thus the sector is in a transition phase. However, there is no single approach to reform – in Bangladesh case, a strategy has to be designed taking into account the socio-political environment, the immediate sector constraints, as well as the macro-economic realities. Important measures that need to be taken on a priority basis for the energy sector would be

• adoption of a sector strategy for ensuring long term national energy security;

• separation of policy formulation from operations and regulation;

• adoption of transparent rules for network operations and dispatch;

• adoption of a short-term, medium-term and long-term policy framework and measures for making reliable, adequate and reasonably priced energy available to all;

• adoption of rules for risk sharing by public and private sector operators; and

• making the Energy Regulatory Commission fully active to ensure level playing field for public and private sector operators, and to effectively deal with legitimate consumer issues.

It would be in fitness of things if a high level steering committee with Power Cell and Hydrocarbon Unit would be created with adequate powers to take the lead to address issues and options of the sector, and advise the ministry on policy matters to develop an Energy Strategy. The Energy Strategy would be like a roadmap of major highways to give the direction to the most significant places. It would show a clear picture of the landscape for the government to make sure that the country has the best energy development plan designed to be realistic and flexible with respect to future events and time frames for achieving economic and social benefits. The success of the steering committee would, however, lie in the commitment to adopt a strategy at the highest political level.

Concluding Remarks

Bangladesh ranks as one of the most underdeveloped over populated and corrupt nations in the world. Although the country’s development is hindered by frequent natural disasters, inefficient management, unemployment, inefficient use of energy resources, power supplies, political infighting and corruption, Bangladesh has made significant progress in most sectors in recent years. The World Bank considers poor governance and weak public institutions as the major drawbacks to development in Bangladesh. The natural gas sector in Bangladesh lacks good governance, private sector participation and effective guidelines. An improved gas sector will boost up the economic development of Bangladesh.

The optimal domestic utilization of natural gas in Bangladesh in diversified productive purposes will assist to a great extent the economic development of Bangladesh. The GOB should ensure the most efficient usage of this invaluable natural resource and consider exporting it as a last option.

The GOB should consider allocating more funds to local oil companies and encourage exploration and production from newly discovered fields. The country could benefit in many ways if it could efficiently utilize its natural gas resource in the power and fertilizer sectors. Both these sectors play an important role in the overall economic development of this poverty-stricken country. Since use of gas to generate power has multiplier effect, the return from gas based electricity cannot be measured only by estimating the cost of installing power plants and return from the cash revenue out of it. It should include the many benefits it creates by developing situations for industrialization, employment, low cost irrigation and low cost business as well as low-cost household gas for cooking and water heating.

Without a firm commitment to improve governance and rule of law, the growth of the private sector and foreign investment will continue to be seriously constrained, and there will be little hope of achieving poverty reduction goals. The GOB should focus on institutional reforms to promote private investment for the exploration of natural gas, improve the transparency, efficiency and consistency of government corporations, ministries and agencies. The challenge in the future is to make optimum use of its natural and human resources to build lasting rural and urban prosperity.


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