Ilisha-1 got the recognition of the country’s 29th gas field. Considering the price of imported LNG under the long-term contract, the total value of gas stored here is estimated at about 27 thousand crore BDT and from the acquisition of land, along with the purchase of necessary goods, the total expenditure of the energy department has been Tk 190 crore BDT including exploration and drilling of wells.
Many local and international organizations in the energy sector have expressed the opinion that instead of depending on the international market to meet the gas demand, investment should be increased in local extraction and exploration of Bangladesh. In 2017, the Danish engineering and consulting company Ramble said in a projection while preparing the master plan for the gas sector in the country, that more than 3 billion dollars in gas imports will be needed to meet the demand in Bangladesh every year from 2021 to 2030. In Ilisha-1 gas field, similarly, about 27 thousand crores BDT equivalent of gas has been created by spending only 190 crores of BDT.
In fact, the energy department has seen success by increasing investment in the exploration and extraction of gas at the local level. Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX), a state-owned energy exploration and extraction company, conducted exploration, extraction and work-over in nine wells throughout the year 2022. BAPEX has spent 812 crore BDT and through this investment, BAPEX has saved at least 1 lakh crore BDT in the import of LNG.
According to BAPEX sources, it usually takes three to five months from the drilling of a gas well to the confirmation of gas supply but it took 1 month and 16 days to get gas from Ilisha-1 well. However, the company’s officials said that it still takes one and a half to two years to extract gas from Ilisha-1. According to the energy department’s plan, by 2025, 615 million cubic feet of gas will be added to the national grid from local sources. BAPEX is working as a part of this plan.