Bangladesh national Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation Petrobangla announced a tender for international companies to carry out an extensive 2D seismic exploration of several deep-water blocks of the Bay of Bengal, local media quote sources within the company.
This is the first attempt in Bangladesh’s history to explore oil and gas blocks located on the shelf following the settlement of territorial disputes with the neighboring India and Myanmar in 2014 and 2012.
According to Petrobangla, five international companies, including Russian ones, lay claims on conducting geophysical research. The candidates are: Norway-US consortium TGS-NOPEC and Schlumberger, Chinese company BGP, Russian Dalmorneftegeophysica (DMNG) and Marine Arctic Geological Expedition (MAGE), and UK-based Spec Partners Ltd.
Upon evaluating all of the submitted tender documents, Petrobangla will select the winner and sign a 10-year contract, as informed by Istiaq Ahmed, head of the Bangladeshi company, who also noted that the contractor shall bear all exploration-related expenses, which will subsequently be covered by the profits from selling the data obtained through the survey.
According to Istiaq Ahmed, the objectives of the 2D seismic exploration of the sea blocks of the Bay of Bengal are to provide Bangladesh’s oil and gas industry with new geophysical data of the unexplored shelf of the Republic and to evaluate the oil and gas resources for future prospecting, exploration and development of hydrocarbon fields.
The area of the Bay of Bengal that belongs to Bangladesh measures 118 thousand square kilometers, with depths of 20 to over 2500 meters. Local specialists estimate that, according to preliminary data, there might be several trillion cubic feet of natural gas (1000 cubic feet = 28.3 cubic meters) in the country’s maritime economic zone.
In total, there are 26 discovered gas fields in Bangladesh. The average production volume is at 2.7 billion cubic feet (76 million cubic meters) per day while the need is at 3.2 billion cubic feet (90 million cubic meters). At the same time, Petrobangla estimates the country’s proved hydrocarbon reserves at more that 15 trillion cubic feet (over 400 billion cubic meters).
In the end of 2014, Gazprom International, the sole specialized operator of Gazprom's hydrocarbon prospecting, exploration and development projects outside the Russian Federation, entirely fulfilled its obligations within the framework of its first joint project with Bangladesh under two drilling contracts signed on April 26, 2012 with BAPEX, BGFCL and SGFL, Petrobangla’s subsidiaries. In accordance with those agreements, ten wells were designed and built at six fields. Tests showed that maximum total production rate of the wells amounted to 5.1 million cubic meters per day, which is equal to 16.8% of Petrobangla’s production volume and to 7.5% of the total yield in the country.
In September of 2015, Gazprom International and Petrobangla reached new agreements for construction of five more wells in Bangladesh. Under the new contracts, Gazprom International will design and build three wells at the Rashidpur field, one well at the Srikail field and one well at the Bakhrabad field.
In July 2014, during a meeting between the Managing Director of Gazprom International and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, apart from the plans to continue cooperating in the sphere of services, the parties also discussed their intention to establish a joint venture with one of Petrobangla's subsidiaries to work in Bangladesh and in third countries.