Dhaka, Bangladesh
'No immediate plan of bidding for onshore gas exploration'

'No immediate plan of bidding for onshore gas exploration'

Prime Minister's Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury has said that there is no immediate plan of bidding for onshore gas exploration in the country, reports UNB. "But some international oil companies (IOCs) might be chosen for exploration work for few onshore fields on case to case basis", he said while responding to a question at a seminar at Petrobangla in the city on Thursday. Energy and Mineral Resources Division organised the seminar tiled 'Oil and Gas Exploration Opportunities in the Offshore Areas of Bangladesh under Production Sharing Contract (PSC)' on the occasion of observing the National Energy Security Day. The government observed the day to commemorate the historic decision taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to take over operation of five gas fields from Shell Oil at a cost of 4.5 million pound on August 9, 1975. With Energy Secretary Abu Hena Mohammad Rahmatul Mumin in the chair, the seminar was addressed by Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Chairman Md Akram Al Hossain. The Energy Advisor said that Law Ministry has been examining the legal status of Chhatak East Gas Field whether it has any relation to the litigation between the government and Canadian company Niko. The Niko was conducting an exploration work at the Chhatak West Gas Field in Sylhet under a deal with Bapex. But following a blowout during the drilling in the fields in 2005, Niko was sued by the government and its all exploration activities in the country including in Feni gas field came to a halt. Still the case with Niko remained pending with Supreme Court and also with International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC. Petrobangla officials said the Niko East Field remained virgin and abandoned since then. At the seminar, Petrobangla deputy general manager Shanewaj Pervez, made a presentation on the topic. He said the government has been taking preparation to go for another round of bidding for offshore oil and gas exploration with a new updated production sharing contract (PSC). The Petrobangla chairman said the country will get 1000 mmcfd gas from next year when two LNG terminals will come into operation. He said the government has signed Qatar and Oman to import LNG top meet the country's energy demand. The BPC chairman said the government has undertaken a number of pipeline projects to carry fuel transportation from Chittagong to Dhaka and from offshore to the Chittagong port area which will reduce cost and time of transportation.

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