Chevron Bangladesh has intended to carry out an 'exploration study' in 11 onshore blocks, fully or partially, to delineate new hydrocarbon prospects and help augment the country's overall natural gas output.
The US company aims at finding potentially drillable prospects in the unexplored areas of the blocks (1, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14).
Among the blocks, few are still vacant, or unexplored, some owned by state-run Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Ltd (BGFCL) and Sylhet Gas Fields Ltd (SGFL) and some owned by Chevron Bangladesh itself.
The company wrote recently to the state-owned Petrobangla seeking its nod to carry out the study, get access to relevant data currently available with the BGFCL, SGFL and Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Ltd (Bapex), and ink a confidentiality agreement.
It believes that it will be able to utilise its knowledge in reservoir 'stratography,' unconventional reservoir 'facies', a senior Petrobangla official told the FE on Monday.
Assigned by Bapex, Chinese energy exploration firm Sinopec, however, found recently an onshore natural gas prospect at Shariatpur.
Drilling of exploratory wells will be required to assess whether gas reserves there will be commercially viable or not.
In its proposal, Chevron expressed the interest to carry out the study excluding the 'ring-fenced areas' of the blocks owned by the BGFCL and the SGFL.
A ring-fence is a virtual barrier that segregates a portion of company's assets from the rest, which is kept intake for future exploration.
Chevron also aims at further exploration study in the 'relinquished areas', in all the three of its blocks, which it surrendered to Petrobangla earlier seeing 'poor' prospects there, said the official.
Sources said Petrobangla recently extended the PSC (production sharing contract) tenure for Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar gas fields of Chevron Bangladesh by five years each with a provision for extending it by five more years to boost exploration.
Petrobangla extended the PSC tenure of Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar gas fields under block 13 and 14 by five years to 2029 from the previous schedule of contract expiration in 2024. The contract could be extended further until 2034.
The tenure of the remaining block 12 (Bibiyana) will also expire in 2034.
The sources said Petrobangla extended the PSC tenures of the Chevron's blocks as the US oil and gas major decided in October 2017 to stay in the country, canceling its previous decision to leave the country by selling off its stakes to a third party.
Chevron then also assured the government of investing around US$ 400 million afresh in oil and gas exploration and development, they said.
It also had planned to build two compression stations at Bibiyana and Jalalabad gas fields respectively to ramp up natural gas output from the country's northeastern region.
Natural gas output from Chevron-operated three onshore fields - Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar - is around 1,550 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), which is around 58.57 per cent of the total gas produced from local gas fields to the tune of 2,646 mmcfd, according to Petrobangla statistics as on August 04.
The country's overall natural gas output is, however, around 3,218 mmcfd including the imported re-gasified LNG (liquefied natural gas) to the tune of around 573 mmcfd.
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