Bangladesh seeking Saudi assistance in energy security, clean power

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DHAKA: Dhaka will seek Riyadh’s help in improving energy security and developing sustainable energy sources, according to its embassy in the Kingdom, ahead of a meeting of the Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission on Sunday.

Bangladesh, which is heavily reliant on imported liquefied natural gas, has been experiencing an extreme energy crisis in recent months as the government deals with rising energy demands.

Since mid-July, the administration has resorted to daily power outages in response to rising global prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Due to a lack of power, industries have been forced to remain idle for many hours every day.

In early October, over 80% of Bangladesh’s 168 million people were left without electricity due to a grid failure caused by more than one-third of the country’s gas-powered units running out of fuel.

When Bangladeshi government representatives attend the 14th Joint Commission conference in Riyadh on Oct. 30-31, they will press for collaboration in the energy sector.

“This will involve the import of crude oil and other petrochemicals from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh, as well as refinery concerns and many others,” said Mortuza Zulkar Nain Noman, economic advisor at the Bangladeshi Embassy in Riyadh.

As the country’s manufacturing costs rise due to the power issue, Bangladeshi industry are attempting to convert to clean or renewable energy sources. However, such solutions necessitate both technological know-how and significant investment.

Saudi Arabia’s projects have pushed several countries to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels, and Bangladesh will investigate the prospect of collaboration in this area.

“We’re interested in renewable energy.” The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made a few recommendations to Bangladesh, which are now being discussed. “We will also talk about it in the Joint Commission meeting,” Noman stated. “We’re hoping to sign a couple memorandums of understanding.”

According to energy experts, prospective long-term agreements reached during the meeting could assist Bangladesh in building strategic reserves and energy resiliency.

“We need some long-term contracts and commitment from the Kingdom to have uninterrupted fuel supply so that we can safeguard ourselves from price changes in the gasoline market,” Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Prof. Abdul Hasib Chowdhury told Arab News.

“The country needs to create a strategic oil stockpile to fulfill emergency demands for three to six months.” It takes years and years of hard work and effort. The Kingdom can also help us here.”

Source: Arab News

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