Tk 11,351cr for power and energy sector

An allocation of Tk 11,351.20 crore has been proposed for the power and energy sector in the proposed national budget for fiscal year 2013-14.“While providing resources we attached highest priority to the power and energy sector. You might have noticed, right from the beginning how we allocated resources to revitalize the economy. Our endeavors have paid off and we see some visible achievements,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech in Parliament on Thursday.
Mentioning that the government has attached highest priority to the sector, the minister said, “Once all the power plants which we decided to install are in place, we will have a generation capacity of 19,701 MW of electricity by 2017, and supply and demand of power will be in equilibrium.”
Claiming that the government has made tremendous progress in the sector, he said, “I am pleased to apprise you today that we have achieved major milestones of success in this area (power and energy).”
He said, “During this time, as many as 54 power plants have been installed. We have so far supplied 3,845 MW of additional electricity to the national grid.”
The beneficiary coverage of electricity has been raised from 47 percent to 60 percent while per capita electricity production has increased from 220 kwh to 292 kwh, he said, adding that new electricity connections have been provided to 3 million consumers.
Describing the steps taken by the government to increase power generation, the minister said they have installed 2 million solar home systems and taken necessary steps for installing a coal-based power plant with 1,320 MW capacity.
“We are extracting 2,260 mmcft of natural gas daily from 19 gas fields. In our tenure, we’ve added 680 mmcft natural gas to the national grid,” he said.
He added that the government has taken steps to strengthen the only state-owned petroleum exploration and production company – BAPEX.
Besides, Muhith reminded that the government signed an agreement with Russia to install two nuclear power plants with 1,000 MW capacity each at Ruppur in Pabna.
“By 2015, the total power generation capacity will reach 14,500 MW, Insha-allah,” said an optimistic Muhith.
About energy security, the finance minister said they have also given special priority to ensuring energy security and the storage capacity of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation has been enhanced to 9.83 lakh MT to do so.
“We have created a fund named ‘Gas Development Fund’ for (raising) investment in and development of oil and gas exploration, production and distribution,” he said.
About coal policy, Muhith said the present government has completed the preparatory work for formulating the policy.
Stressing the need for extracting coal, he said, “Opportunities are lacking for importation of coal. If we can extract coal from our own mines and ensure smooth supply, our dependence on import will gradually diminish.”
He went on: “Considering all these, we have prepared a report on coal policy. However, we would like to leave this report for decision to be taken by the next government.”
Expressing his optimism for constructing LNG terminal and transmission line, Muhith said the government would be able to import and supply LNG.
He added that they have taken steps to explore hydrocarbon resources in coastal belts. (Source: UNB)

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