Govt to seek EoIs from oil cos by Nov 10 to conduct seismic survey in Bay
M Azizur Rahman
The government is set to seek expression of interests (EoIs) from potential oil companies by November 10 next to conduct seismic survey in the country's exclusive economic zone in the Bay of Bengal.
"Advertisements will be published in national dailies seeking the EOIs from the reputed firms having experiences in conducting seismic survey into the deep sea to determine the country's hydrocarbon potential," a senior official of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) told the FE.
He said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the MPEMR is expected to fix a cut-off time of one month to submit the EoIs to the EMRD.
The MPEMR will make a short list on the EoIs before floating international tender for the seismic survey in the exclusive economic zone that covers 200 nautical miles from the shore.
The most competent firm will be selected through the open tender to conduct seismic survey within six months.
Petrobangla sources said the government will go for third round bidding only after evaluation of the potential of hydrocarbon presence in the deep sea.
"A good number of international companies including those of Europe and India have already expressed their interests for exploration in Bangladesh offshore blocks," a top Petrobangla official said.
The recent discovery of huge gas reserves in some offshore gas fields in neighbouring India and Myanmar has prompted the government to award exploratory works in hitherto unexplored off shore blocks, MPEMR sources said.
The success of the Cairn Energy in getting positive test results on its gas discovery in the offshore sites at Hatiya and Meghhnama under Block 16 with an estimated reserve of 4.0 trillion cubic feet (TCF) also prompted the government to go for seismic survey before inviting bidding.
Regarding the seismic surveys to be conducted by the international oil companies (IOCs) Petrobangla sources said the government would not have to bear the expenses to conduct these surveys.
They said the IOCs would have to bear the expenses of their own. They would, however, be allowed to sell data and the hydrographic and geological mapping information to the interested parties in the global market.
On previous occasions the government signed production-sharing contracts (PSCs) with the IOCs for the oil and gas blocks without knowing the potential of hydrocarbon there.
Currently, the government has eight PSCs with the IOCs for 10 blocks across the country.
The government signed these PSCs in the first and second round biddings in 1996 and 2001 respectively after dividing the country into 23 blocks.
Among the IOCs, the Unocal Bangladesh Ltd alone was awarded Block 12, 13 and 14 covering Sunamganj, Hobiganj, Sylhet and Moulavibazar areas.
The Unocal along with the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (BAPEX) was awarded Block 7 for gas and oil exploration in Barisal, Patuakhali, Perojpur, Jhalkathi, Barguna and the adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.
Cairn Energy Exploration Bangladesh Ltd together with the BAPEX was awarded Block 5 and 10.
These blocks cover Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat and the adjacent portion of the Bay of Bengal, Laxmipur, Noakhali, Bhola, Shahbajpur and the adjacent areas of the Bay of the Bengal.
Cairn Energy Sangu Field Ltd and Halliburton Energy Inc were jointly awarded Block 16 for the areas of Feni, greater Chittagong, Kutubdia and the adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal.
Tullow Bangladesh Ltd and Auckland Oil Company were awarded jointly the Blocks 17 and 18 covering the areas of Cox's Bazar and the adjacent area of the Bay of Bengal.
Tullow Bangladesh Ltd, Niko Resources and BAPEX were jointly awarded Block 9, which covers the areas of Gazipur, Narsingdi, Comilla and Chandpur.