India and Bangladesh should get together for joint exploration of gas to overcome the hurdle of resource and logistic mobilization, poor connectivity and most important reduction in the cost of exploration.
This was expressed by the experts of both nations during the recent two-day `International conference on the present and future of natural gas : challenges and opportunities in NE India` organized at the Pragya Bhavan here by the Synergy For Energy Challenges and Opportunities in N-E (SECONE), an organization funded by Indian energy companies like ONGC, GAIL, IOL etc.
"Gas is a clean fuel and is part of the energy. The focus of the conference is natural gas and we have chosen Tripura because it is lying between Bangladesh and Myanmar. There is gas in the entire region starting from Bangladesh to Myanmar. At present in the northeast (India), Tripura is producing the maximum quantity of natural gas. If more focus is given then there will be more production of gas, more exploration and more gas based industries will come and there will be more development of the region," said Anil Kr Saikia, Secretary, SECONE.
Saikia said the biggest hurdle in the exploration of gas in this region is logistics and tough terrine and due to which the exploration cost is very high. "Moreover, there is transportation bottleneck along with the law and order problem but things are fast improving," he added.
Most of the experts expressed that both nations should cooperate in using each other`s expertise, territory for resource mobilization and equipment in exploration sector to bring down the cost and for viability of the project.
"Bangladesh, Northeast India and Myanmar and these areas are endured with natural resources. Our resource is so big but our reserve is small because we could not explore it. What were the major hindrances the political boundaries, logistically difficult and because of these two it becomes costlier in exploration. That is why Bangladesh could not do very good, nor India or the Burmese in the north-eastern part. If we cooperate each other; politically these are different countries but geologically it is one. There are seven to eight borders connected with very well road, communication. Hence, within no time we can mobilize our equipment and material to the sites," said Md Maqbhul E Elahi, former director of Petro Bangla of Bangladesh and an energy expert.
Elahi added: "To drill one well you need to mobilize 1200 tonnes of equipments. If we use Bangladesh roads and mobilize the equipments to Tripura or Myanmar side then in no time we can reach at almost no cost. Even to reach Digboy and these areas, it only takes six to seven hours time from Sylhet which has good road and communication. So, if we use it then the exploration cost reduces and initiative from the private partners will grow up. So, if we can cooperate then definitely we can in a very short time develop much faster compared to other parts of the world."
Meantime, ONGC Tripura Asset Manager S.C. Soni said there is a need for regional cooperation in energy sector between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh for development and prosperity.
"But there is a misconception or misunderstanding in this regard. There should be cooperation between Indian and Bangladesh because we are sharing the boundary and our fields are very nearby and so we can exchange our technical expertise and our data to them and they are also actually ready to share their data so that actually we can have a mutual cooperation. We also need to have a gas grid system between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh," he added.
Soni further said that both Bangladesh and Northeast India have gas which needs to be tapped in a planned way, adding a gas grid shall come up in north-east India by 2030 which shall be connected with the neighouring nations.