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Petrobangla launches Road Show ahead of offshore gas bidding PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2008

Staff Correspondent

With 90 percent of the economy dependent on gas-based infrastructure and gas consumption rising at 8 percent a year, Bangladesh cannot afford to ignore the overwhelming demand for natural gas in coming years, a special aide to the chief adviser said Sunday.

Addressing a 'Road Show' ahead of this year's offshore bidding process, the CA's special assistant for power, energy and mineral resources, M Tamim, said: "About 8 billion US dollars need to be invested to find and develop the required reserves."

"As per gas sector master plan and strategy, the country will need an additional 24 trillion cubic feet of gas to meet the country's projected demands up to the year 2025," Tamim said.

However, he added, if the projected exploration ventures do not yield significant results, or existing gas fields failed to supply currently estimated reserves, projected deficits would kick in much earlier.

Over 80 companies from home and abroad registered for the Road Show, organised by Petrobangla and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division ahead of the Bangladesh Offshore Bidding Round 2008, to publicly appraise and answer queries of interested companies.

Tamim said the awarding of contracts would be finalised by October and exploration would start tentatively by year-end. "One must take advantage of the present trade and investment friendly atmosphere in Bangladesh, particularly under the present caretaker government, and I trust this positive trend will prevail in the near future too," the special assistant said.

According to Petrobangla, Bangladesh has gas deposits totalling 28.86 trillion cubic feet in 23 gasfields. Of this amount, 20.82 trillion cubic feet are extractable and 1,700 million cubic feet gas is being extracted daily in 17 gasfields.

Mentioning the government's draft coal policy, Tamim said: "We have discovered five coal deposits with proven reserve of about 2,350 million tonnes and the probability of about another 3,450 million tonnes."

The quality of coal was good, he said, adding: "Soon we are expecting a coal policy, which will address the concerns around extraction of coal". Energy secretary Mohammad Mohsin and Petrobangla chairman Jalal Ahmed also spoke. "I hope many companies which did not take part in any bidding in Bangladesh before will join this time," Jalal said.

Representatives of Chevron, Cairn, British Petroleum, Total Energy and Petroleum, Santos, State Oil of Norway, Indian Oil Corporation were among the international participants in Sunday's Road Show.

The interested companies expressed optimism about the overall situation in the country but mentioned bureaucratic tangles as a major obstacle to international investment. Bangladesh offshore fields have been recently divided into 30 blocks of varying sizes ranging from 2,611 sq km to 7,703 sq km for petroleum exploration.

Of the 30 blocks, two blocks have production sharing contracts since 1997, while Petrobangla opened bids for the remaining 28—20 deep-sea and eight shallow offshore blocks—to international companies for petroleum exploration, development and production.

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