The energy crisis exposes the risks of overreliance on imported LNG

Bad news: there will be no immediate relief from the current period of power outages. Less bad news: interruptions will be programmed by zone so that we know when to expect it and plan accordingly. That’s more or less the Prime Minister’s message to citizens after a gas crisis, which has disrupted power generation causing frequent blackouts in recent days, laid bare the flaws in the claims of 100% electric coverage of Bangladesh. It has also led to a multitude of coping strategies. Coping is Surviving 101 – but is it the best we can do?

The Prime Minister, in addition to urging citizens to cooperate with the government’s plan, explained how the electricity crisis was made inevitable by the harsh economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, causing serious disruption the supply of raw materials as well as exorbitant prices, particularly of fuel. there is no doubt. What this meant for a power sector heavily dependent on gas – around 52%, to be precise – was a reduction in the supply of gas to power stations, following a decision not to buy liquefied natural gas ( LNG) in the international spot market “until prices recover”. down.” The resulting energy crisis affected both individuals and industries, forcing the latter to cut production by 50%.

The FBCCI called for “power rationing” for different industries based on their priorities. But what about citizens? Will priorities also be set for rich and poor neighborhoods? This is a multi-faceted crisis where ordinary people are at the tip of the spear. Until recently, of the total electricity produced in the country, 56% was used by households. Sooner or later, a breakdown will lead to outrage. We must find a solution beyond energy rationing, “austerity in energy consumption”, gas imports or unlimited subsidies to pay for them.

Experts say that the present crisis was actually caused by our overreliance on imports. We have untapped natural gas that can be a lifeline for the sector. But instead of exploring our onshore and offshore gas reserves, the government has mainly relied on imports to ensure our energy security, which has always been a dangerous tactic given the unpredictable trend of fluctuating gas prices. fuel on the world market. Even now most of our plans seem to revolve around imported LNG. Can we ensure our energy security if we continue to depend too much on factors over which we have no control?

We therefore urge the government to move away from this overreliance. It must withdraw into itself and make gas exploration the pillar of its energy policy, with an eye on renewable energies. As we try to cope with the new reality, we must remember to prepare for such eventualities in the future and find a more permanent solution.