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Bangladesh finds huge reserves of seaweed, gas hydrate in Bay

bluesky

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Bangladesh finds huge reserves of seaweed, gas hydrate in Bay
FE ONLINE REPORT | Published: January 05, 2022 18:17:21 | Updated: January 05, 2022 19:06:14
Representational image
Representational image


Bangladesh has detected a huge presence of seaweed and gas hydrate in its maritime boundary for commercial use.
The findings are made through a two-year survey conducted by the maritime affairs unit of the foreign ministry. The UK and the Netherlands supported the survey to detect marine genetic resources in the Bay of Bengal.
Briefing the media on the survey findings, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said, “The survey finds the presence of 220 species of seaweed, 347 species of fish, 52 species of shrimp, five species of lobster, 498 species of shell and 61 species of sea-grass.”

“Among the seaweed species, several have huge potential for industrial and commercial use. The survey found five types of commercial use of the seaweeds found in the Bay.”
“These seaweeds can be used for fish feed and animal feed production as some of these have huge protein content and animal fat,” the minister said, adding that Bangladesh has a huge domestic market for animal feed.
Some of the seaweed can be used as food additives as these contain ‘Agar-Agar’ which are being imported by the food processing industry in the country.
Besides, the Bay shelters several species of seaweed that contain a high volume of gelling agent, heavily used in the cosmetic industry.
These seaweeds contain high-value cosmetic ingredients which are used to manufacture skincare cosmetics, the minister pointed out.
The minister said that through a seismic remote sensing study, it is assumed that the country’s exclusive economic zone in the maritime boundary has a reserve of 0.11 to 0.63 trillion cubic feet of gas-hydrate. This gas-hydrate reserve equals 17-103 tcf of natural gas.
The exact volume can be ascertained after the detailed seismic survey, the minister said.
As the technology for the exploration of gas hydrate from the sea is not available many developed countries are yet to extract their reserve.
“We hope that the technology will be available soon and then we will be able to start an exploration of our reserve” Dr Momen added.

mirmostafiz@yahoo.com
 

Bilal9

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Bangladesh seaweed is a goldmine waiting to be tapped: FM

  • 5th January, 2022 07:35:27 PM
    Bangladesh seaweed is a goldmine waiting to be tapped: FM
Bangladesh sees huge commercial potential of marine “Seaweed” and its domestic use reducing import dependency and its subsequent export to global market, according to latest research.

The research has identified five industrial applications of certain species of seaweed found in Bangladesh. These are fish feed, animal feed, food additive, bulk cosmetics ingredient and high value cosmetic ingredient.

The results of the research show that some of the many species of seaweed found in Bangladesh have huge commercial potential, which can play a significant role in the Blue Economy of Bangladesh.

“Seaweed" is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.

“It’s another goldmine. It needs promotion,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters at the ministry of foreign affairs on Wednesday while sharing the outcome of a research based on sea-based Seaweed.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit (MAU) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (Retd) Md. Khurshed Alam also shared part of the research findings.

Momen said industrial raw materials worth Tk 28,000 crore are currently being used in Bangladesh for a number of purposes including as ingredients of soaps and shampoos.

He said Bangladesh can domestically source ingredients worth Tk 16,000 crore if it can develop seaweed locally apart from exporting the surplus production of seaweed. “It has a lot of potential,” said the foreign minister.

The Maritime Affairs Unit, led by Khurshed Alam, has been conducting the research with significant progress over the last two years assessing the presence, overall location, economic potential and commercialization of Marine Genetic Resource (MGR) which includes all marine animal and plant resources.

It was done as part of the blue economy development plan for the development of the biotechnology sector.

The Netherlands-based researchers, along with representatives of the Maritime Affairs Unit, conducted field-level research in the sea area of Bangladesh in 2020.

The study analysed the economic potential of MGR's overall position mapping in Bangladesh's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), including the identification of various species.

On the basis of those results, 220 species of seaweed, 347 species of marine fish, 498 species of oysters, 52 species of shrimp, five species of lobster, six species of crabs, 61 species of sea-grass were identified in Bangladesh.

Necessary laboratory tests on these species were later performed in the Netherlands.

It resumed in 2021 after a pause in research activities on the emergence of Covid-19.

The programme focuses on the potential and commercialization of Seaweed, especially in Bangladesh.

In the current context, the state minister said, hatchery, farming, processing plant and industrial application will be required for commercial production and management of marine seaweed in Bangladesh.

He said Seaweed production in Bangladesh can be done very easily in an environmentally friendly manner. “Seaweed cultivation can play a role in protecting the ecological balance as well as protecting the coastal areas.”

Shahriar said Seaweed cultivation is capable of creating easy and secure employment opportunities for the coastal people of Bangladesh, where a significant number of women workers can be easily employed.

After Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Blue Economy programme Momen said, they are going to be able to achieve a ground breaking achievement of extracting new commercial resources directly from the sea.

In this context, both the Momen and Shahriar said, their next step is to make the interested and qualified industrial organizations / entrepreneurs invest or participate effectively in various potential sectors of Seaweed in Bangladesh.

In order to make such an effort a success, the necessary assistance will be provided by the Maritime Affairs Unit of the MOFA to the eligible industrial organizations / entrepreneurs.

They expect that all those businesses that would benefit economically from Seaweed would use a portion of their profits for the betterment of the coastal people of Bangladesh.
 
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bluesky

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Big potential in Bay as 17-103 TCF gas hydrates found
The discovery of gas hydrates has come as a blessing

Gas hydrates discovered in Bay

A ray of hope – Bangladesh now has all the opportunities to tap into a potential "goldmine" in the form of huge gas hydrates and several hundred species of seaweed discovered in the Bay of Bengal.

The country has found the presence of around 17 to 103 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of ice-like hydrate deposits containing huge amounts of methane, the foreign ministry revealed on Wednesday.

While Bangladesh at COP26 committed to gradually cut down its fossil fuel usage and go for green energy, the country still needs fossil fuel like natural gas in the next two decades in order to ensure a smooth transition and energy security.

Now, the discovery of gas hydrates has come as a blessing.

In 2018-21, the Maritime Affairs Unit of the foreign ministry in association with the UK analysed two surveys conducted on 6,500 line-kilometres of the sea during 2007-10, and presumed a plenty of marine resources in the exclusive economic zone.

Gas hydrate is a crystalline solid formed of water and gas looking like ice and contains huge amounts of methane.

While making the disclosure at a press conference, Rear Admiral Khurshed Alam (retd), secretary of Maritime Affairs Unit, told the media, "It would be possible to determine the actual reserves of gas hydrates if a complete seismic survey is conducted in the country's entire marine zone."

With the approval of the prime minister, a group led by the Maritime Affairs Unit was formed in 2018 to analyse data obtained from the surveys conducted earlier in the Bay of Bengal to determine gas hydrate reserves in the occupied waters of Bangladesh.

Speaking at the event, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said, "Undoubtedly, the survey results are very promising for Bangladesh. Getting such a huge reserve of gas hydrates is a watershed moment for Bangladesh."

The foreign minister said such huge gas hydrates as a source of environment-friendly fuel will help meet future energy demand.

"We hope Bangladesh will soon enter a new era of energy through the extraction of gas hydrates," the foreign minister noted.

Does Bangladesh have what it takes to produce gas from hydrate deposits?

Energy expert and geologist Dr Badrul Imam said there is still little for Bangladesh to benefit from the huge discovery as technologies required to produce gas from hydrates are not developed yet in the world.

"Some countries, such as Japan and Canada, are trying to develop necessary technologies. But even if they become successful, it will take another 10-15 years for Bangladesh to avail it," he added.

Besides, it is still unknown what percentage of gas could be recovered from such a reserve, he pointed out. On the other hand, Petrobangla officials said the presence of such gas hydrates is very common in any maritime area.

For example, India has also confirmed the potential for huge gas hydrate reserves in the Bay of Bengal, especially in the Krishna-Godavari basin, says Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India data.

A total of 27 gas fields, stocked with around 28 TCF, were discovered in the country. Of these, about 18.24 TCF of gas had been extracted till 2020.
Currently, 20 gas fields are operational in Bangladesh with the supply of only 2,300 TCF of gas per day against a national demand of 3,500 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day.

The country's own gas resources are depleting fast due to high demand against a lack of any significant gas discovery in the last two decades. Bangladesh is currently spending billions of dollars to import Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to keep its industries and electricity operational to cover the gas supply shortfall.

Since 2018, the government has been importing at least 500 mmcf/d of LNG through two floating storage regasification units. This is why exploring the deep sea for oil and gas has become very important for its economy.

Oil and gas discoveries in deep Bay

That the Bay of Bengal has a lot of oil and gas prospects is evident from how India and Myanmar have been tapping the resources for the last two decades.
India has so far discovered a total of 40 trillion cubic feet of gas in place through drilling a large number of wells. Its biggest discovery is in Dhirubhai deepwater block – located in Krishna-Godavari Basin – the midpoint of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, having 25 TCF gas in place. It has been producing 2.1 billion cubic feet per day since 2009.

Other significant gas discoveries include the Deen Dayal gas field with an in-place resource of 2-3 TCF in 2005. Since then, they have made eight additional discoveries. In Mahandi Basin, India found 3 TCF gas. But India has also drilled 40 wells in the Bengal Basin where they made no discovery.

Myanmar on the other hand discovered from 2003 to 2006 three gas fields totaling up to 6 tcf to 10 tcf gas in place in the Bay.

In the last decade, Bangladesh had a proposal from American company Conocophillips to drill an exploratory oil and gas well in the deep sea. Conocophillips conducted a seismic survey in blocks 10 and 11 under a contract, and proposed drilling the well 350km away from the Chattogram coast.

The company was eyeing 5 to 7 trillion cubic feet of gas. But the possibility of success to find this gas was just 17% whereas the company sought a number of financial terms that the government did not agree with. Conocophillips left Bangladesh in 2014.

Seaweed explored offers commercial potential

Another survey conducted by the Maritime Affairs Unit along with the Netherlands found the presence of seaweed in the Bay, offering a huge commercial potential and its domestic use reducing import dependency and its subsequent export to the global market.

The results of the research show that some of the many species of seaweed found in Bangladesh have huge commercial potential, which can play a significant role in the blue economy of Bangladesh.

The research has identified five industrial applications of certain species of seaweed found in Bangladesh. These are fish feed, animal feed, food additive, bulk cosmetics ingredient and high value cosmetic ingredient.

"It is another goldmine. It needs promotion," the foreign minister told reporters while sharing the outcome of a research based on sea-based seaweed.

Momen said industrial raw materials worth Tk28,000 crore are currently being used in Bangladesh for a number of purposes, including for ingredients of soaps and shampoos.

Bangladesh can domestically source ingredients worth Tk16,000 crore if it can develop seaweed locally apart from exporting the surplus production of seaweed. It has a lot of potential, said the foreign minister.

The Maritime Affairs Unit, led by Khurshed Alam, has been conducting the research with significant progress over the last two years assessing the presence, overall location, economic potential and commercialisation of marine genetic Resources, which includes all marine animal and plant resources.

The Netherlands-based researchers, along with representatives of the Maritime Affairs Unit, conducted field-level research in the sea area of Bangladesh in 2020.

The study analysed the economic potential of marine genetic resources' overall position mapping in Bangladesh's exclusive economic zone, including the identification of various species.

On the basis of those results, 220 species of seaweed, 347 species of marine fish, 498 species of oysters, 52 species of shrimp, five species of lobster, six species of crabs, 61 species of sea-grass were identified in Bangladesh.
Necessary laboratory tests on these species were later performed in the Netherlands.

In the current context, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the press briefing said hatchery, farming, processing plant and industrial application will be required for commercial production and management of marine seaweed in Bangladesh.

Seaweed production can be done very easily in an environmentally-friendly manner. Seaweed cultivation can play a role in protecting the ecological balance as well as protecting the coastal areas, he added

Shahriar said seaweed cultivation is capable of creating easy and secure employment opportunities for the coastal people of Bangladesh, where a significant number of women workers can be easily employed.
 

bluesky

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Big potential in Bay as 17-103 TCF gas hydrates found
The discovery of gas hydrates has come as a blessing
The present land-based reserves are about 28 trillion cft. In comparison 17-103 trillion cft. natural gas hydrate is quite big. However, the technology required to extract methane gas from the hydrate is not available for Bangladesh.

Please note that Japan's Nankai Trough area was identified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and its United States Department of Energy National Laboratories (NETL) as an important hydrate-bearing region in the Asia-Pacific. DOE gas hydrate resource estimates indicate a hydrate potential of 564 trillion to 950 trillion cft.

It is a very large quantity comparing to the BD reserves. However, a technologically superior Japan which is an ally of the USA has not yet come up with the technologies needed to extract the solidified gas hydrate.

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One reason may be the size of investment needed. Another reason may be Japanese companies have little experience with oil/ gas rigs exploration. But, American companies have a lot of experience in this field. However, no country has experience to extract gas hydrates.

My personal belief is that for now only Amwerican companies are capable to extract gas hydrates with the help of Japanese mechanical technologies.

In any case, a huge investment is required. It means the cost of extraction of gas may be prohibitively expensive. Until the ME gas is available, its unit price will remain low.

Probably, it is $5 per unit or 1,000 cft in average. With this price in the market, it may not be feasible for the gas hydrates to compete in the market because exploration prices will become much higher than the current unit rates of gas in the market.

Methane gas hydrate discovery has certainly made BD people expect a better future. But, this future may be quite far away until the time when normal gas prices are pricier because of shortage.
 
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bluesky

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bluesky

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Big potential in Bay as 17-103 TCF gas hydrates found
The discovery of gas hydrates has come as a blessing
Let us assume that there is only 50 trillion cft (TCF) of methane hydrate in the BoB. If not in the solid form but in the gaseous state, the market value of this 50 trillion cft is more than $250 billion if the price is $5 per thousand cft.

So, the present finding is quite large. I expect many other findings in our part of the Bay, oil, methane gas, and methane hydrate. The very geological characteristics of the formation of the Bay say it has oil and gas under the seabed.
 

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