Gas development fund not being properly utilised

Shanchita Shitu
Published : 01:30, Aug 21, 2019 | Updated : 13:56, Aug 21, 2019

Representational imageThe gas development fund was created in 2009 to invest in gas exploration, development and reforms. The fund was made from 46 paisa deducted per cubic meter usage by clients. Its main aim was to supply low priced gas to users.

However, energy specialists say that this fund could not achieve its target in ten years. Instead of the price coming down, it only went up.

According to Bangladesh Energy Regulation Commission authorities, the price of gas was hiked  BY 11.22 percent on 30 Jul 2009 when the fund was launched.

At that time, the commission stated that the surplus money from gas price rises would be kept in this fund along with interest.

Till June of the current year, the fund has a deposit of Tk 23 billion.

The money will be spent on gas exploration, buying rigs, compressor and to finance 33 projects. Already, 23 projects are completed at a cost of around Tk 39 billion.

An additional ten projects are in operation with an expenditure of Tk 29.76 billion.

Specialists say that the fund has been running for a decade now. Petrobangla got seven years to use the fund but exploration areas have not increased much. Instead, the government had to rely on the import of high priced LNG.

Energy specialist Professor Shamsul Alam, says: “The fund was formed by hiking the price of gas but there is no strategic planning for its usage.”

 The Energy division was reluctant to discuss where the money was being spent, added the specialist.

Former chairman of Petrobangla, Professor Hossain Monsur, said: “The main aim of the fund was to carry out exploration, development and reforms; those who are working at the moment will give an account of what has been done.”

Meanwhile, energy specialists say that in the last ten years, there have not been any successful strikes apart from Bhola north; Petrobangla could not give any positive news from areas where seismic tests were done.”

Energy Secretary Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Munim said recently: “Along with foreign companies, local initiatives  would be expanded to search for energy sources which might then be used to ensure energy security in the country.”