As of 2011, 79 natural gas wells are present in the 23 operational gas fields which produce over 2000 millions of cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD). It is well short of over 2500 MMCFD that is demanded, a number which is growing by around 7% each year. In fact, more than three-quarters of the nation’s commercial energy demand is being met by natural gas. This influential sector caters for around 40% of the power plant feedstock, 17% of industries, 15% captive power, 11% for domestic and household usage, another 11% for fertilizers, 5% in Compressed natural gas (CNG) activities and 1% for commercial and agricultural uses.
CNG is substituting more that USD 0.8 billion worth of foreign exchange annually and is also used in most vehicles on the road. In addition to CNG, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also demanded at around 0.1 million tons. The nation furthermore demands 3.5 million tons of oil imports in addition to almost 2 million tons of diesel to feed oil-based power plants being planned and built all around the country. The additional petroleum and coal imports are causing a disruption in the GDP by as much as 2% annually. The new purchases are affecting improvement initiatives in other sectors causing reduced export earnings and curtailing employment opportunities. This massive failure in the energy sector is mostly attributed to prolonged negligence, inappropriate implementation, inefficiency and lack of planning. To make matters worse, natural gas reserves are expected to expire by 2020. The only coal mine of the country is in the development stage, the reserve of which is also expected to dry up anywhere from 75 to 80 years after the start of their operations.
Efforts to develop an open-pit coal mine in Phulbari, Dinajpur District, have met with large, violent protests in 2006 because of feared environmental effects, and six people were killed and hundreds injured. At the time, the government closed the project, for which it was working with Asia Energy (now Global Coal Resources). It was encouraged in December 2009 to re-open it by the United States ambassador in private communication. In October 2010 protesters make a week-long march from Phulbari to Dhaka against the mine; a coalition of other groups protested at a Global Coal Resources meeting in London.