Energy crisis hangs over
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

With oil prices climbing dramatically, it is just a matter of time before its mighty waves hit Bangladesh also. There is something very mysterious about the galloping oil prices.. Before the oil embargo of 1973, oil price was hardly two dollars a barrel, in 1995-96 it was between ten and twelve dollars and now it is 128 with experts predicting 150 to 200 in not-too-distant a future. The government can neither afford the huge subsidies nor pass the burden on to people. The Chief Adviser’s Special Assistant for Power and Energy said recently that we have energy security for the next twenty years. A few days back, the Finance Adviser had said that oil prices shall have to be raised. Such talks are uncalled for because these create panic and lead to speculations and holding. We are fortunate enough to have gas and coal reserves but no government in the past tried to develop this sector to ensure energy security. Coal still remains unutilized while there has been plunder in the gas sector. Inept and basically irresponsible handling has not allowed us to develop these resources. We have no reliable estimate of our gas reserves. On shore exploration remains suspended due to legal wrangling and oil multinationals have their own interests in off-shore exploration.  Either we shall have to strike new finds or lessen dependence on imported oil. And it is also the time when the government should take steps to stop wastage and pilferage. Both domestic and industrial sectors should be brought under strict monitoring. The next step should be expeditious exploration. This is a difficult job because our own expertise in this filed is limited. Therefore, BAPEX should develop its own expertise as much as possible. The third step should be identifying areas where the consumption of oil can be reduced. Bulk of oil is consumed by the transport sector.

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