In a significant development, the Ilisha-1 gas field in Bhola district has been officially declared as the 29th gas field of Bangladesh.
The State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, made the announcement during a press briefing held at his residence in Dhaka on May 22, 2023. This newly discovered gas field is anticipated to hold an estimated reserve of 200 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, contributing to the overall reserve of 3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in the Bhola region.
Expressing enthusiasm over the discovery, Minister Nasrul Hamid described it as excellent news for the nation. Located approximately 182 kilometers away from the capital city Dhaka, the Ilisha-1 gas field was excavated in the Maler Hat area of the Ilisha union under Bhola Sadar upazila. The drilling process, which commenced on March 8, concluded successfully on April 24 after reaching a depth of 3,475 meters through the Drill Stem Test conducted in three levels.
Minister Nasrul Hamid disclosed that gas had been previously found in various wells within the Bhola north and Bhola south structures. As part of a strategic plan, efforts are underway to construct a pipeline that would transport gas from the Bhola area to Dhaka, addressing the persistent gas shortages faced by numerous industries. Currently, a pre-feasibility study has been conducted, with a comprehensive feasibility study in progress. The Minister estimated that it would take approximately three years to complete the pipeline project.
To initiate the gas supply, a private company has already signed a contract to transport 25 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas from Bhola using large trailers, starting with an initial volume of 5 mmcfd. Additionally, the government aims to establish a pipeline network encompassing Bhola, Barishal, and Dhaka, as well as another network connecting districts in Dhaka, Sylhet, and other regions.
The commercial value of the gas reserves in Bhola is estimated at Tk 6500 crore in the local market and Tk 26000 crore when considering the value of imported gas. Minister Nasrul Hamid highlighted that the declaration of the Ilisha-1 gas field’s discovery followed meticulous drilling operations and related activities.
Presently, Bangladesh produces around 2300 mmcfd of gas from 22 existing gas fields, while an additional 700 mmcfd is imported to meet the demand of approximately 4000 mmcfd, leaving a deficit of approximately 1000 mmcfd. Despite this, two gas fields in Bhola possess a combined production capacity of around 200 mmcf, with the actual production ranging between 80-85 mmcf. Consequently, there remains an unused surplus capacity of approximately 120 mmcf across eight wells in the Shahbazpur and Bhola gas fields.
Due to the absence of adequate pipeline and transmission facilities, the surplus gas from the Bhola field has not been able to be supplied to energy-intensive industrial zones in Dhaka and other areas. The discovery of the Ilisha-1 gas field signifies a crucial step towards addressing the energy needs of the country and bolstering its industrial sector, heralding a promising future for Bangladesh’s energy landscape.
Tipu Munshi Emphasizes Joint Effort for Commodity Price Control Amid Global Instabilities
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi underscored the pivotal role of controlling commodity prices, emphasizing its special importance in the upcoming general election as a key aspect of the Awami League’s manifesto. While addressing concerns about global challenges impacting price control, the minister pointed out the government’s successful efforts to maintain reasonable prices, acknowledging the limitations imposed by the global context.
Speaking at an event organized by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection and Debate for Democracy at the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC), Tipu Munshi provided insights into the government’s commitment to ensuring affordable daily necessities for low-income individuals. He highlighted ongoing programs aligned with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives, aimed at providing essential items at lower prices to mitigate the hardships faced by the economically vulnerable.
The minister acknowledged the abnormal increase in product prices globally due to factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tipu Munshi stressed the significance of a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors in effectively managing and controlling commodity prices, especially in the face of global uncertainties.
Concluding his remarks, Tipu Munshi emphasized the collective strength of consumers, stating that neither the government nor any syndicate holds ultimate power; rather, the united force of the common people is the most influential. He called on consumers to remain vigilant, asserting that no force can endure if the public remains united.
FBCCI Urges Govt to Extend Income Tax Return Deadline Amidst Implementation Challenges
In a letter signed by FBCCI president Mahbubul Alam, the trade body emphasized that taxpayers faced challenges due to the recent implementation of the new Income Tax Act-2023. The complexities introduced by the new tax regulations, coupled with delayed releases of income tax circulars, have created difficulties for individuals and businesses in preparing their tax returns within the stipulated timeframe.
The FBCCI’s letter further highlighted that various trade bodies have approached them, expressing concerns about the limited time provided for taxpayers to comply. Additionally, the ongoing political situation and the imminent general election have contributed to the constraints faced by taxpayers in meeting the November 30 deadline.
Under the provisions of the new Income Tax Act, there is a mandatory requirement for taxpayers to submit their income tax returns within the designated income tax day. The FBCCI, in light of Section 334 of the Income Tax Act-2023, has formally requested the NBR to extend the deadline for the submission of income tax returns until December 31, 2023.
The FBCCI’s appeal underscores the need for flexibility in recognizing the unique challenges posed by the current circumstances and aims to provide relief to taxpayers who require additional time to comply with the new tax regulations.
Singapore’s GDP growth in Q3 driven by construction and services sectors.
The third-quarter performance of Singapore’s economy exceeded expectations, registering a robust 1.1 percent expansion. This growth was propelled by the construction industry and the services sector, particularly tourism. The data from the trade ministry surpassed the anticipated 0.8 percent and marked a significant improvement from the preceding three months.
In response to the positive momentum, officials have revised the full-year forecast for 2023. They now anticipate the economy to grow by 1.0 percent, adjusting from the earlier estimated range of 0.5-1.5 percent. The decision is influenced by improved performance in the US economy since the previous forecast in August. However, officials cautioned that inflation-fighting interest rate hikes may pose challenges in the coming months.
The ministry projected that growth in the US and eurozone would moderate due to the cumulative effects of monetary policy tightening. Similarly, China’s growth is expected to decelerate further due to ongoing weaknesses in its property sector, domestic consumption, and subdued external demand. Despite sluggish global demand for electronics, one of Singapore’s major exports, there are indications that the downturn may be stabilizing.
Continued growth in tourism arrivals is anticipated to support aviation and tourism-related businesses. Taking into account the overall performance of Singapore’s economy in the first three quarters of the year, along with the latest external and domestic developments, the GDP growth forecast for 2023 has been narrowed to around 1.0 percent.
Looking ahead to 2024, the ministry foresees a growth range of 1.0-3.0 percent. However, potential downside risks include high inflation and an escalation of conflicts, such as those between Israel and Hamas or the war in Ukraine. The confluence of these factors could impact business and consumer sentiments, leading to a potential slowdown in global growth and trade.
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