Energy policy of Bangladesh
Bangladesh suffers with heavy energy crisis with the gradual expansion of economic activities of the country. The estimations and reserves of energy resources show future potentials but a small fraction of them are being utilized which proved to be insufficient. Moreover, the impact of climate change and environment pollution has also been significantly felt. As a result, the successive governments have aimed at formulating an effective energy policy which would address these concerns. The energy policies have also received extensive criticisms especially on the questions of energy export and methods of extraction.
The first National Energy Policy (NEP) of Bangladesh was formulated in 1996 by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral resources to ensure proper exploration, production, distribution and rational use of energy resources to meet the growing energy demands of different zones, consuming sectors and consumers groups on a sustainable basis. With rapid change of global as well as domestic situation, the policy was updated in 2004. The updated policy included additional objectives namely to ensure environmentally sound sustainable energy development programmes causing minimum damage to environment, to encourage public and private sector participation in the development and management of energy sector and to bring the entire country under electrification by the year 2020.
Natural gas accounts for about 70% of the country's commercial energy supply. According to a study conducted in 2003 by Hydrocarbon unit of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the initial gas reserve of the 22 discovered gas fields of the country amounts to 28.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) out of which 20.5 TCF is considered recoverable. In 2000, United States Geological Survey conducted a study for undiscovered gas reserve of the country. According this study, there are possibilities to explore another 32 TCF of natural gas. Another study conducted by Hydrocarbon Unit and Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in 2001 concluded that additional 42 TCF of natural gas could be discovered in the country.
In recent years, experts have raised concerns that the existing proven reserves could be extirpated by 2020 and have called for immediate exploration of new gas fields.
Bangladesh has a reserve of approximately 3 billion tons of steam grade Bituminous coal as discovered till 2003. These reserves are mainly concentrated into the five large coal fields in the northwestern regions of the country, namely Jamalganj, Barapukuria, Khalashpir, Dighipara and Phulbari.
The NEP called for conservation measures to be strictly enforced to ensure rational, economic and efficient use of energy. The major means of energy conservation have been pointed out as energy audit, reduction of wastage, demand management and efficient use. Experts have suggested to initiate the energy conservation act, which would significantly reduce the energy demand of the country.
- Kogan Page (2003). Asia and Pacific Review 2003/04. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 20. ISBN 9780749440633.
- Charles K. Ebinger (2011). Energy and Security in South Asia: Cooperation Or Conflict?. Brookings Institution Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780815704317.
- Geological Survey (U.S.) (2010). Minerals Yearbook, 2008, V. 3, Area Reports, International, Asia and the Pacific. Government Printing Office. p. 3. ISBN 9781411329645.