Setback for gas exploration: Socar seeks to abandon drilling job midway

FE Report | Published: July 08, 2019 10:56:37 | Updated: July 10, 2019 11:12:48

The move to ramp up natural gas output from local gas fields is going to face a setback as the Socar, a foreign oil company, has intended to leave midway through an onshore drilling project.

The Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited (Bapex) had assigned the Socar, the state oil company of Azerbaijan, to drill three wells in a bid to augment the country's overall natural gas production.

Socar has drilled the Semutang South-1 well in Khagrachhari recently but found it dry, a senior Bapex official said.

Bapex deemed the well prospective as two other wells in the Semutang gas field is currently under production.

Begumganj-4 in Noakhali and Motherganj-1 of Jamalpur are the two other wells the Socar is bound to drill under the contract signed with Bapex, said the official.

"Socar has recently informed us of its intention to terminate the deal paving the way for its departure," Bapex Managing Director Md Abdul Hannan told the FE.

Bapex, however, is trying to persuade the Socar to complete the remaining drilling job, he said.

A couple of years ago, the Bapex awarded the Socar AQS the contract for drilling three onshore gas wells at a total cost of around US$33 million, officials said.

Of the three wells, two were exploratory well and another was an appraisal one.

The cost of drilling by Socar was among the lowest, compared to the deals with other foreign firms involved in similar drilling job under Bapex, said the officials.

Bapex has been awarding drilling jobs to international oil and gas exploration companies over the past several years because of its technical and manpower problems.

Termination of any such deals with any foreign firms would slow down the Bapex's efforts to raise natural gas output, the officials added.

Currently, the country's overall natural gas production is around 3100 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), including the supply of re-gasified LNG (liquefied natural gas) to the tune of around 550 mmcfd, against the demand for around 4,000 mmcfd.


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