Industry Desk: Bangladesh does not have enough information to explore oil and gas at sea, which is deemed by specialists as the major weakness. Of the 26 blocks at the Bay of Bengal, work is underway in only four and Petrobangla does not have information about the rest. In addition, the blocks at high sea are too deep and therefore, the multinationals are not willing to work here.
As per government’s Production Sharing Contract, PSC, 2019, the rate of gas has been fixed at $ 7.25 from $ 6.50 in case exploration is successful. Specialists feel that compared to Myanmar and India, Bangladesh is falling behind in gas exploration.
The previous invitation to foreign companies in 2008 and 2012 was not successful.
US company, Conoco Phillips took a lease of the block but left mid-way. Petrobangla officials have said that earlier invitations did not get enough response due to price.
“If gas is discovered then it may be transported via pipeline but for that, the amount of reserves, distance pipeline construction cost need to be taken into account,” say officials. If pipeline transportation is costly, foreign companies will not be interested.
Petrobangla sources say that if tenders are called then multinationals have to be provided with enough information. But Petrobangla only has information about the depth of water and the size of the block but investors will want the result of second-level seismic tests.
Therefore, the multi-client survey is done before the tender is called.
The multi-client survey is given to a foreign company but three years will be needed to assess results after the survey.
Joint secretary of the energy division, Nazmul Ahsan says: “it will not be logical to sit for such a long time and so, we have asked Petrobangla to call for PSC; once government approval is done, PSC will be called.”
Former energy adviser M Tamim adds: “calling tenders without doing multi-client survey will not bring any benefits. No company will show interest unless they have a solid idea about deep-sea reserves.”
Former Chairman of Petrobangla highlighted the depth of the seas plus the siltation, saying: “it’s complicated to work under the sea and we do not have enough information and multi-client in essential.”
“We must start work soon too; the agreement with the company which showed interest has not been finalised. Even after a deal is done, another year will be required to start work; so, we must begin now.”
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