DHAKA: State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX) have discovered an additional 1.0 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves in Rashidpur field, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Mohammad Hussain Monsur, chairman of the state-owned Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, of which BAPEX is a subsidiary, said the discovery in the Moulavi Bazar area, 214 kilometres northeast of Dhaka, would help ease the country's natural gas shortages.
"It is a great relief ... as the country might face a severe crisis (in gas supplies) after 2015 if we would not find new gas reserves," he told Reuters. "We will start exploration work soon with the assistance of foreign experts."
The new discovery raises the amount of total gas reserves estimated to be in this field to more than 3.0 tcf, out of which about 5.0 billion cubic feet has already been consumed.
Petrobangla confirmed the new discovery after BAPEX conducted a 3-D seismic survey between November, 2010 and June of this year.
Rashidpur is producing around 48 million cubic feet (mmcfd) of gas daily from five wells and Petrobangla plans to add another 55 mmcfd after drilling three more wells.
Bangladesh has been facing a severe shortage of natural gas, with overall production now totalling around 2,000 mmcfd against demand of more than 2,500 mmcfd.
Due to the shortages, Petrobangla has stopped new gas connections to industrial and manufacturing firms across the county since July 2009, ultimately affecting economic growth.
Natural gas connections to households have also remained suspended since July 2010.