Bangladesh Says Gazprom to Help Boost Gas Output

Source: Reuters 5/30/2010, Location: Asia

Gazprom, the energy exploration giant of Russia, has agreed to assist energy-starved Bangladesh to boost production in state-owned gas-wells, officials said.

"An agreement on cooperation and assistance for augmenting gas production in Bangladesh's state-owned gas wells was signed between the two countries in Moscow last week," Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes told a news conference.

Gazprom experts will visit Bangladesh soon to start the cooperation, Quayes said without giving details of the deal signed during the visit of Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni to Russia.

The Russian firm has agreed to work to boost production in 79 gas wells operated by the state-run oil, gas and mineral corporation, Petrobangla.

Bangladesh has been facing a gas crunch by 300 mmcf a day as the supply remains at nearly 2,000 mmcf, officials of Petrobangla said.

Petrobangla currently supplies 850 mmcf gas daily to power plants run by Bangladesh Power Development Board and another 250 mmcf to five state-owned fertiliser firms.

The rest is supplied by international gas companies operating in the country.

Bangladesh's power plants have the capacity to produce up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity, but currently produce only 3,900 MW against daily demand of up to 6,000 MW due to the gas shortage, officials said.

Bangladesh often shuts fertiliser factories to divert gas to power plants in the face of acute electricity shortages, a senior official said.

Bangladesh's annual urea demand is around 3.0 million tonnes, of which the country produces 1.8 million tonnes and imports the rest.


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