Category Archives: Minerals, Hydrocarbons and Resources

Largest limestone reserve discovered

Largest limestone reserve discovered
GSB sees it as feasible mine

Staff Correspondent

The Geological Survey of Bangladesh yesterday discovered a limestone deposit in Panchbibi upazila of Joypurhat.

Moonira Akhter Chowdhury, Director General, Geological Survey of Bangladesh, told The Daily Star that the limestone deposit appears to be the largest discovered so far in the country.

Limestone is a key ingredient for making cement and Chowdhury believes that if the deposit is as big as the indicators are saying, it could meet the demand for limestone in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh depends largely on imported limestone.

“On the basis of scientific indications we can say that this is going to be a much bigger deposit than the old find in Jamalganj of Joypurhat and hopefully, it will also be feasible to mine,” the DG said over the telephone.

She said it was too early to specify the size of the deposit. “It will take one more month to ascertain the total reserve…”

The Geological Survey, which has made most of the coal, limestone, hard rock and peat discoveries in the country since the 1950s, yesterday struck limestone 456.6 metres below the ground. It drilled 5.5 metres further into the layer, which indicated that the layer was thick.

She said as the geologists were drilling deep, they were hoping that the layer would expand more. “The basin seems bigger,” she said.

In the 1960s, the then Geological Survey of Pakistan discovered a large limestone deposit in Jamalganj of Joypurhat. The deposit was between 518.16 metres and 548.64 metres under the ground.

Later, studies revealed that 270 million tonnes of limestone were there and 100 million tonnes of it could be mined.

However, the mine was later deemed financially unviable as the cost to control the underground temperature would have been too expensive and the layer was pretty far below the surface.

Yesterday’s discovery was much closer to the surface.

In 1961, the Geological Survey of Pakistan found limestone deposits in Bagalibazar-Takerghat-Bhangerghat area of Sunamganj. The total deposit of around 30 million tonnes was found in four locations at depths between six metres and 100 metres.

At Takerghat, at least 612,371 tonnes of limestone were mined between 1972 and 1993, according to the Geological Survey of Bangladesh.

In the 60’s, limestone deposits were found in Bogra (nearly 2,000 metres below the surface), in Patnitala of Naogaon (300 metres below the surface), Paharpur of Joypurhat (500 metres below the surface) and in Jamalganj of Joypurhat.

In 1966, Fried Krupp Roshtoff of Germany undertook a feasibility study of limestone mining in Jamalganj and found the mine was economically feasible. In 1969 the government undertook a mining project that was never launched.

In 1978, the Geological Survey of Bangladesh came up with a fresh analysis saying that the Jamalganj deposit had 100 million tonnes of mineable limestone covering a 6.7 square km area.

However, the project was abandoned due to the high cost involved in controlling the underground temperature.


Drilling at Sunetra structure in February

Drilling at Sunetra structure in February
1st well likely to supply 20mmcf of gas
Shamim Jahangir

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) Limited is going to mobilise an exploration rig at country’s potential Sunetra gas structure next month to begin drilling an exploratory well in February, 2012.

“We are preparing to move an exploration rig from Fenchuganj gas field in Sylhet to Sunetra structure late next month,” Bapex Managing Director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque told daily sun on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Bapex drilled a new well at Fenchuganj to produce 20mmcfd (million cubic feet gas per day) gas there.

Faruque said the Bapex drilling team is now preparing to drill the exploratory well at the potential gas structure.

The estimated cost to drill the exploratory well is Tk 800 million, which Bapex would receive from gas development fund, the Bapex chief said.

The Gas Development Fund has a fund of around Tk 8 billion, Petrobangla sources said.

In the middle of this year, Bapex had placed a Tk 2.79 billion development project proposal (DPP) before the government on drilling a total of four exploratory wells at Sunetra gas structure located in Sunamganj and Netrokona districts.

An estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas was found at the structure.

The government has already decided to mobilise fund from the Gas Development Fund for the Sunetra project.

According to a previous DPP, the implementation period of the project was divides in two phases — exploration in the first phase from December this year to June next year and development of the structure in the second phases from July 2012 to June 2014.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Division, however, has sent back the DPP and asked the Bapex to submit a revised proposal immediately.

Bapex discovered the Sunetra structure last year through conducting a seismic survey on 260 square-kilometre area in the districts and estimated a gas reserve of over 2.5 TCF, enough to meet the existing gas demand for about three years or to meet the present supply shortage of 500 mmcfd for about 15 years.

To facilitate development works of the structure, a 3.5-kilometer driveway has already been reconstructed on an emergency basis.

The Bapex earlier had a plan to drill the exploratory well at Sunetra structure in the current month. But it was delayed as the construction firm allegedly failed to complete the driveway in time, a Petrobangla official said.

Bapex, the state owned exploration and production company, has already prepared a 20-year roadmap to explore oil and gas in 74 exploratory and development wells in 23 onshore block structures in the country, an official said.

According to the roadmap, Bapex would drill 13 exploratory wells between 2011 and 2015. By this time, it will drill four exploratory wells at Sunetra.

Fenchuganj gas field brings new supply in Jan

Fenchuganj gas field brings new supply in Jan
Business Report

State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX) has made new gas discoveries in the Fenchuganj gas field.

The oil and gas exploration agency struck gas while conducting a test to get the size of the reserve and assess the daily supply volume that may come from a newly-drilled well on Sunday, BAPEX managing director Murtaza Ahmed Faruque said.

“It takes about one month to supply gas from a well after conducting the test. To this effect, it would be possible to start the supply by January-end,” he said indicating 35 million cubic feet gas may be supplied from the well which will be 81st in the list of the running wells in the country. A total of 20 million cubic feet gas is currently supplied from the gas field daily now and new addition will make the gas field a more important supply source to the nation.

Bapex earns Tk 880m profit in FY11

Bapex earns Tk 880m profit in FY11
Business Desk

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) made Tk 880.3 million profit during 2010-11 fiscal as it fetched Tk 1.67 billion income against expenditure of Tk 788.5 million.

This was revealed at the 22nd annual general meeting (AGM) of the company at a city hotel recently.

Mohammad Mejbah-uddin, chairman of Bapex board and secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division presided over the AGM, said a press release.

Members of the board of directors of Bapex and a large number of shareholders attended the meeting.

Govt plans to increase 1920 mcft gas by 2013: PM

Govt plans to increase 1920 mcft gas by 2013: PM

SANGSAD BHABAN, Nov 30 (BSS)- Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina today said her government has undertaken a plan to raise gas production by 1920 million cubic feet by 2013 and 880 mcft by 2015.

“We hope that the daily gas production would be enhanced by 1920 mcft by June 2013 and 880 mcft by December 2015 from the countries different gas fields owned by local and international companies,” she said.

Replying to a question from treasury bench member Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury during her question-answer session, she said steps have also been taken to import LNG from Qatar at a rate of 500 mcft daily.

The Prime Minister said after assuming office, her government has been implementing various programmes to increase gas production considering its importance for the overall development of the country.

She said the demand of gas is increasing gradually as it is environment friendly as well as cheap. But, she said, a crisis has been created in gas supply as the past BNP government did not take any step to explore and produce gas keeping consistency with the demand.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has been executing short, middle and long-term programmes to solve the gas crisis. The production of 500 mcft gas has already been increased due to the steps taken by the government, she said.

The Prime Minister said the government has signed a production sharing agreement with ConocoPhillips under the offshore bidding round 2008 to explore gas in the maritime area.

Besides, she said, the Environment Impact Assessment work is going on to explore oil and gas, while the seismic survey work would begin by January 2012.

After the successful implementation of the programmes, the Prime Minister said the real reserve of natural gas would be confirmed and it is expected that the country’s total gas reserve would increase by 3 to 3.5 trillion cft.

Responding to a supplementary from the same lawmaker, Sheikh Hasina informed the House that her government has taken a plan to set up seven special economic zones in the country’s seven divisions.

The government would give priority to set up small and medium industries in the zones side by side with large industries, she said.

Answering to a question from ruling party lawmaker Shamsul Haque Chowdhury, the Leader of the House also said the present government has so far built 37 power plants in the last 32 months adding 2406 megawatt electricity to the national grid.

As many as 700 MW more electricity would be added to the national grid from the under-construction power plants by this year, she said.

The Prime Minister said the present government has so far signed agreement to set up 47 power plants with a capacity of 5247 MW electricity.

To save electricity, she said her government has undertaken a plan to distribute 2.8 crore CFL bulbs. Of them, she said, 1.05 crore CFL bulbs have already been distributed in the first phase, while the rest 1.75 crore CFL bulbs would be distributed in the second phase.

The Prime Minister also called upon the people to maintain austerity in using electricity and criticized the past BNP government and the subsequent caretaker government not to take any initiatives for raising gas and power production.

“The BNP and the caretaker governments failed to add a single megawatt of electricity to the national grid,” she said.

Bapex capacity building project set to get Ecnec nod

Bapex capacity building project set to get Ecnec nod

The Executive Commi-ttee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) sits on Thursday to consider a number of projects, including exploration and production capacity-building of Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited (Bapex).

Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside over the meeting to be held at the NEC conference room in city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

Bapex and Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL) will implement the proposed project under the Energy, Power, and Mineral Resources Ministry at an estimated cost of Tk 3.23 billion.

Of the amount, Bapex is likely to provide Tk 2.18 billion while KGDCL Tk 1.0480 billion, said sources at the Planning Ministry.

A Planning Ministry official said if the project is approved and implemented, technological efficiency of Bapex will be enhanced enabling it to carry out its exploration activities more efficiently.

Besides, Bapex will also be able to provide technological assistance to Petrobangla companies in carrying out their exploration works.

Once completed, the project is expected to reduce the gap between demand and supply of gas in Chittagong, the official added.

Under the project, he said, a 65 km-long high pressured gas transmission pipeline would be constructed from Semutang gas field to Chittagong Ring Main to ensure smooth gas supply in Chittagong.

The Pre-Ecnec (PEC) meeting on the project was held on April 13 this year where the Planning Commission recommended approval of the project.

The Ecnec meeting is also likely to consider another project on construction of 448 flats for government employees of the Parliament Secretariat at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar at a cost of Tk 1.64 billion.

Under the project, 448 flats will be constructed for providing accommodation facilities to the officials and employees of the Parliament Secretariat.

Of the total number of flats, 56 will be of 1250sqf each, 112 of 1000sqf each, 112 of 800sqf each and 168 of 600sqf each.

The Ecnec meeting is also likely to consider further development of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University project with Tk 690 million, promotion of services and opportunities to the disabled people in Bangladesh (revised) project involving Tk 1.55 billion, modernisation and extension of Bangladesh Television center in Chittagong with Tk 380 million and Sylhet gas transmission network upgradation project costing Tk 910 million. —UNB

BPC to start talks to secure fuel supplies

BPC to start talks to secure fuel supplies

The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will begin talks with a number of international oil marketing companies next week on the terms contracts to import oil products to meet growing domestic demand in 2012, a senior company official said Friday, reports Reuters.

A team led by BPC Chairman Mohammad Abu Bakar Siddique is heading to Kuwait and Singapore to hold talks with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Malaysia’s Petronas, Egypt’s Middle East Oil Refinery and Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC), an official said.

“In Kuwait the team will discuss quantity and price details with KPC on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and with other companies in Singapore on Dec. 2-6,” he said.

Bangladesh’s fuel oil imports are likely to more than double next year to around 1.65 million tonnes, while overseas purchases of diesel may rise about 25 per cent to 3.74 million tonnes on growing domestic demand, a senior BPC official told the Reuters this week.

Besides diesel and fuel oil, Bangladesh will import 385,000 tonnes of jet fuel, 100,000 tonnes of 95-octane gasoline and 90,000 tonnes of kerosene in 2012, the official said.

In 2011, the BPC paid a premium of $3.14-$3.30 a barrel to Middle East spot quotes for diesel and $31.50-$32.00 a tonne to Singapore spot quotes for 180-centistoke (cst) fuel oil.

Bangladesh also buys fuel oil from Vietnam’s Petrolimex, PetroChina and Maldives National Oil Company.

The state-owned company is likely to face higher prices for 2012 supplies, compared to 2011, as fuel prices have been on the rise, traders said.

Spot cargo premiums for fuel oil have been holding at strong levels of above $12.00 a tonne, while Asian refiners have been selling 2012 term cargoes for gasoil at firmer price levels.

Domestic demand for fuel oil has been swelling as a shortfall of natural gas supply forced the country to turn to costly oil-fired quick rental power plants. The chronic electricity shortage has limited economic growth and investments in Bangladesh and often stirs public fury.

However, the move to import has put more pressure on the country’s balance of payments and inflated the government’s subsidy bill.

The government heavily subsidizes BPC, the country’s sole oil importer and distributor, which sells fuel oil to the local market at much lower rates than import prices.

The total subsidy for the year to June 2012 is forecast to jump to around 460 billion taka ($6 billion) or 5 per cent of gross domestic product, more than double than the original estimate of 200 billion taka, and up from 195 billion taka the previous year.