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Chevron suspends survey after fire in Bangladesh PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 April 2008

U.S. energy group Chevron Corp suspended its seismic survey work in a Bangladeshi gas field after a forest fire in the area, the company said on Sunday, reports agency.

"Chevron has initiated an investigation into the fire and although there is no evidence that the fire was related to the seismic survey work, Chevron has suspended all of its seismic-related work in the forest pending the results of initial findings," the company said.

Chevron last month began a six-month long three-dimensional (3D) seismic survey in block 14 of the Moulavi Bazar gas field located in the country's northeast, which also covers part of a national forest. Steve Wilson, chief executive of Chevron in Bangladesh, said at the time the company was conducting the survey ensuring all necessary measures to protect the environment as it was aware of the environmental sensitivity of the area.

Jalal Ahmed, chairman of the Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation or Petrobangla, told Reuters on Sunday: "We have sent a team to determine the real causes and extent of damages of the forest and until they come back can not say anything."

Officials of Chevron said there was so far no evidence the fire was connected to its seismic activities. "From initial reports, it appears that the fire had no major impact on the wildlife or the environment with superficial damage on the ground and limited impact on trees," the company said in a statement.

Wilson added: "We are shocked to hear about the fire. At this stage we do not know the cause of it and there is no evidence to link it to Chevron activities, but we have launched an investigation to determine the cause.

"In the meantime we have suspected all activities in the forest until we hear preliminary finding from the investigation. We are committed to protect people and the environment everywhere we work, particularly in sensitive areas like the Lauachhara forest in Bangladesh."

Chevron is already producing 70 million cubic feet of gas per day from the field, which has an estimated gas reserve of 400 billion cubic feet and was discovered in 1999. Chevron has invested $820 million in Bangladesh, making it the biggest investor in the country's energy sector.

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