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Bangabandhu put energy security in his priority agenda

By Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo

DHAKA, August 12, 2017 (BSS) - Immediately after the independence
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman attached the highest priority to the power and energy sector and started taking some major steps with effective policy measures.

He also put the power and energy sector in one of his top agenda in his electoral speech on October 28, 1970, on the eve of the national election.

Setting electricity as the second vital area after flood protection, he said power generation and distribution should be increased voluminously and an extensive rural electrification programme must be launched to take electricity to the villages so small-scale industries can be established there.

Accordingly, the father of the nation in 1972 included electricity in the constitution as a right for people.

The visionary leader also launched a milestone initiative for energy
security with establishing the Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) in line with similar mission and vision of Petronas of Malaysia and Pertamina of Indonesia.

He set up primary gas distribution network in Dhaka city and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in 1972. The BPDB started its operation with installed generation capacity of only 200 megawatts.

The father of the nation also set up major power generation unit at
Ghorashal and Shahjibazar power plant with technical and financial
cooperations from Russia.

Bangabandhu's government acquired five major discovered gas fields
including Titas, Habiganj, Bakhrabad, Rashidpoor and Koillashtilla from Shell BV Holland at a nominal prices on August 9, 1975.

This historical deal opened a big way for meeting the energy needs of the newly independent country. Since the deal, 8.73 trillion cubic feet of gas has so far been produced from these five gas fields. These gas fields are still the backbone of the country's gas and energy sector.

Bangabandhu introduced the production sharing contract (PSC) under which six international oil companies (IOCs) were involved in oil and gas exploration from eight blocks in the Bay of Bengal.