After eight years of settlement into its maritime disputes with neighbours, Bangladesh has finally signed a contract to collect data about oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has already discovered gas fields in its bay areas, adjacent to Bangladesh's maritime border.
Petrobangla, the state-owned oil, gas exploration and production company, yesterday inked the deal with the Norway-US joint venture TGS-NOPEC and Schlumberger to conduct a Two-Dimensional Non-Exclusive Multi-Client Seismic Survey in the Bay.
Due to the alert on Covid-19, officials did not come to Bangladesh to sign the contract. They signed and sent the document through an international courier.
The joint-venture company will conduct a survey in 26 blocks in the deep and shallow sea areas of the Bay of Bengal for two years, said an official at the Petrobangla.
After collecting the data, Petrobangla will float an international tender for extraction of gas and oil from the bay, he stated.
However, the government will lose its right over the data as it will not invest in the survey.
The survey conducting company will be authorised to sell the data to any foreign company. It will recoup its investment by selling the data, he added.
The government will sign a Production Sharing Conduct (PSC) with international oil and gas companies under the latest model of PSC to extract oil and gas from the sea.
At present, the country has a demand for 4,000 mmcf gas per day. But production from the local gas fields has not exceeded 2,400 mmcf.
Therefore, the country has begun importing Liquefied Natural Gas from the Middle East.
The country now hosts two floating storages at the Moheskhali sea area with a re-gasification capacity of 1,000 mmcf gas.
Earlier in 2015, Petrobangla took a decision to conduct a survey to assess the resources in the sea.
At the time, five interested companies submitted tender documents regarding their desire to conduct the survey.
But due to reasons not clear, the initiative did not come into effect.