Energy Bangla

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Dhaka Saturday,  Mar 23, 2019

Maritime exploration for Oil-Gas in Halt

Mahfuj Risad

Bangladesh hasn’t yet managed to start exploration for oil and gas within its maritime boundary of Bay of Bengal. No visible initiatives are seen after almost 7 years been passed since Bangladesh has won in the disputes over the maritime boundary with its neighboring nations.

Bangladesh took an initiative to explore it’s territorial maritime areas after it won the lawsuit against India and Myanmar respectively. However, the initiative has not shown us any promise that the exploration would start any time soon even after 7 years being passed. According to the related sources, the concerned authority is likely to commence ‘Multi-Client Survey’ or ‘Multi-Dimensional Survey’ into the Bay. However, this time experts said that it would only kill more time.

Bangladesh’s two neighboring nation Myanmar and India started exploring their territorial sea for oil and gas after the settlements with Bangladesh and managed to find huge reserves already. Myanmar even started extracting gas from blocks adjacent to Bangladesh’s territory. None of these neighboring countries is conducting any ‘Multi-Client Survey’ which saved their valuable time.

The disputes between Bangladesh and Myanmar on maritime boundary got settled on 14th March of 2012. And the dispute with India on maritime boundary got settled on 7th July of 2014. A long time has been passed since the tactical victories but unfortunately, no visual activities are seen yet for securing and harnessing energy sources from the maritime area of the country. Ironically, throughout the past 7 years, state-run Petrobangla’s only stance was saying that they would start the Multi-Client Survey or Multi-Dimensional Survey.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that they would take initiatives to commence exploration in the maritime area of the country within the shortest possible time. He added that it would be a waste of time if we conduct a 2D survey after a multi-client survey.

Regarding this issue, energy expert Professor M Tamim from BUET said that long time has been passed after we won the cases against our neighbouring nations but unfortunately no initiatives were taken to explore the offshore area. “We shouldn’t waste a single minute, not anymore. We need to commence 2D or 3D survey in our maritime area as soon as possible”, he added.

Related sources said that, if we can manage to start a multi-client survey at once, it will require 2 years to be completed from now on. After that multi-client survey, it will be needed to conduct a 2D or 3D survey which will also take at least 2 more years. Accounting all the proceedings related to these methods, the country has to wait at least 7 more years finish the exploration!

According to the related sources, recently, a company offered the government to conduct a multi-client survey with free of cost. However, the company has only one condition, which is that they won’t provide the survey data until 15 years been passed. Whoever wants that survey data, including government agencies will have to buy it from the company within this 15 years timespan of the contract.

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