Present Status of Natural Gas in Bangladesh

View With Charts N Images 

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

BAPEX Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company Limited


Natural Gas is a vital component of the world's supply of energy. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources. Despite its importance, however, there are many misconceptions about natural gas. For instance, the word 'gas' itself has a variety of different uses, and meanings. When we fuel our car, we put 'gas' in it. However, the gasoline that goes into your vehicle, while a fossil fuel itself, is very different from natural gas. The 'gas' in the common barbecue is actually propane, which, while closely associated and commonly found in natural gas, is not really natural gas itself. While commonly grouped in with other fossil fuels and sources of energy, there are many characteristics of natural gas that make it unique.

Statement of the problem

This sector has large potentials for increase contribution to the national economic development of Bangladesh. There are number of constraints which restrict the development and proper utilization of the sector. These are enumerated below:

c. Dependency on Expatriate Consultants and Experts. Number of technical and professional personnel’s in different fields of gas sector are inadequate to undertake the project by the country. The problem of the sector is accentuated by the dependence on expatriate consultants. There are inadequacy of technology, which ultimately made dependence on foreign companies and expertise. Bangladesh Petroleum Institute has limited facilities to train the personnel of the sector. Therefore this sector is becoming fully dependent on foreign consultants and experts.


[i] So far the discovery is concerned; the exploration of gas in Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world, i.e., 20 gas fields.

Petroleum Organization and Infrastructure:  After the independence Petrobangla was formed to promote and regulate exploration, production and distribution of petroleum. Organization of Petrobangla is shown at annex A.[ii] Later in 1976 Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) was set up for importing, refining and marketing of petroleum, oil and lubricants. Presently two productions companies meet a total of 750 million cubic feet of demand of the country and two transmissions and distribution companies distribute to the user end.

Present Development Plan – Fifth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002):  During these period geological and geophysical surveys is intensified to discover and delineate new hydrocarbon bearing structures and to determine the extent and potential of existing gas fields. Transmission and distribution of gas is also intensified in the western part and southern part of the country.

Saldanadi Gas Field. The structure was selected for exploratory/ appraisal drilling after evaluation of seismic data collected during 1991-92 by BAPEX. Accordingly, drilling was undertaken in 1996 and a prospective gas reserve was discovered at a depth of 2,511 meters. After reviewing the data a preliminary estimate of gas reserve was given at 0.202 trillion cubic feet.

Shangu Gas Field.  In 1994, Bangladesh government signed an agreement under Production Sharing Contract with international Oil Company, Cairn Energy. Accordingly company conducted a comprehensive seismic survey in the Bay of Bengal in 1995 and discovered reserve located 40 kilometres away from Shangu estuary. Present estimate of the gas reserve is expected to be 0.848 trillion cubic feet. In Shangu gas field delivery of gas has started since July 1998.

Prospects of the Sector:

Bangladesh government is earning a huge amount of revenue from gas sector, which is increasing every year. Year-wise revenue statement is shown at annex E. Currently the two dominant consuming sectors of gas are generation of electricity and urea fertilizer production. Presently about 80 percent of natural gas is utilized in power and fertilizer sectors. Other users are industries, commercial, domestic, tea estates and at times by brick fields. National Energy Policy 1995 has recommended distributing the natural gas in a manner so that all the user groups may benefit from this sector. The likely fields of prospects are mentioned below: