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Tengratila locals tap into gas-filled pond

  • Published at 10:04 am November 6th, 2017
Tengratila locals tap into gas-filled pond
Living next to a leaking natural gas field is a dangerous business. Stay away from the leaks, say the signboards erected along the boundary of Tengratila gas field in Sylhet's Sunamganj upazila. The seepage is taking place since the gas reserve witnessed two major blowouts in 2005. But a man in the locality has come up with an extra-ordinary response to the cautions. He has developed a technique to churn out the gas from a pond located near the western boundary of the gas field. Yes. Abul Kashem of Tengra village set up the facility centring his pond about three years ago, using some pipes and drums. It is now providing gas to around 200 households in the neighbourhood. He is now earning Tk400 per month from each of the gas lines. The idea is very simple. The gas seepage was causing bubbles in the pond water. Abul Kashem noticed that the bubbles were originated from some fractures on the ground of the pond. He drove galvanised iron (GI) pipes into the fractures and connected those to small (50-60 litre) iron drums using rubber pipes. The drums are also connected to supply pipelines connecting the households. It involves no complex drilling or compression, explained Kashem, who has no background in engineering. He was a construction worker once, when he was in Oman. Apart from that, he has a little knowledge of farming. Asked if there is any risk involved, Kashem noted that chances are very slim as there are pipes to let the gas out to take the pressure off the drum before exploding. During a recent visit, our correspondent has found that several others in the village have followed Kashem's footsteps to explore gas for their household uses. Mohammad Gias Uddin, an engineer of Niko Resources (Bangladesh) Limited, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had repeatedly informed the upazila nirbahi officer about the risky gas extraction by locals. The company can not do anything else in this connection, he added. Tengratila gas field witnessed a gas explosions on January 7 and June 24 in 2005 while Canadian exploration company Niko was drilling gas wells there. After that, the gas exploration has been left abandoned and gas is leaking out from the ground in nearby villages. In a 2010 writ petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), the High Court passed a judgment directing Niko to compensate Petrobangla and Bapex for the two blow-outs. Bapex lodged a compensation claim for US$137.4 million while Petrobangla claimed US$1.05 billion for the blow-outs caused by Niko. In 2010, Niko filed two arbitration cases with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). One among those two cases sought for the declaration of non-liability for the blowouts.
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