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Dhaka Tuesday,  Jan 22, 2019

Bapex confirms second biggest discovery

Manjurul Ahsan

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company on Saturday confirmed its second biggest discovery of a gas field at Bheduria in Bhola with an estimated reserve of at least 600 billion cubic feet.
Bapex managing director Nowshad Islam confirmed the company’s sixth and the country’s 27th gas field discovery as gas started flowing on Monday afternoon during the drill stem test or DST, a mandatory test before making a discovery announcement, of the exploration well.
On January 15, cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, however, announced the discovery after a cabinet meeting before obtaining the DST result.
Nowshad said that the well would enable Bapex to supply 20 million cubic feet of natural gas a day while further well drilling would increase the supply proportionately.
The current DST at a gas containing layer between 3,348 metres and 3,352 metres would also include testing the status of one more gas containing layer above the four-metre thick layer, he said.
The Bapex managing director said that they were yet to name the new gas field.
He, however, said that the gas fields were usually named after the name of the location.
Bapex on Friday night started the DST at the Bhola- 1 well drilled by Russian contractor Gazprom.
The new gas field is located some 20 kilometres off the Sahbazpur gas field, Bapex’s biggest discovery since its formation in 1989.
In 1993, Bapex discovered the Shahbazpur gas field with 677 billion cubic feet reserve which was revised at more than one trillion cubic feet after drilling an appraisal well in October 2017.
The discovery of the gas field in Bhola came at a time when the government was advancing with a plan to meet the country’s lion’s share of the gas demand from imports at a much higher cost.
Energy expert Badrul Imam, also a geology professor at Dhaka University, said the discovery again proved that there were potentials for oil and gas reserves in the country.
‘It would require rigorous efforts in oil and gas exploration in land as well as on the offshore waters,’ he said, adding that the country’ vast areas were still unexplored.
He observed that the issue of gas import drew much attention than exploration.
Bapex former managing director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque said that the Chittagong Hill Tracts, plain land in the western part and the entire offshore should be explored in the shortest possible time.
Although the total reserve of the newly discovered gas field was merely 60 per cent of the country’s annual consumption, he said that it would at least help Bapex to sustain commercially for more than a decade.
Bapex has so far drilled some 12 exploration wells discovered six gas fields including two in Bhola with moderate reserves while one in Srikail in Comilla with 165 billion cubic feet gas reserve and three others with hardly 100 billion cubic feet in combined reserve.
Bapex was given a total of eight gas fields including the six it discovered and two other small gas fields discovered before its inception as an exploration and production arm of Petrobangla, the state-run Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation.

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