Hydrocarbon exploration: Govt to launch fresh round of bidding within one year

Says Nasrul Hamid on the eve of national energy security day

FE Report | Published: August 09, 2019 10:10:35 | Updated: August 10, 2019 10:07:57

Representational image: A gas rig operated by Diamond Resources and contracted to Cairn Energy plc, about 15 miles off Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal. Courtesy: Jiri Rezac

The government will launch a fresh bidding round for hydrocarbon exploration in both onshore and offshore blocks within next one year to delineate new discoveries and ramp up output at formal local gas fields.

Simultaneously, the government will carry out multi-client seismic survey on offshore blocks in the Bay of Bengal.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid disclosed this on Thursday while briefing newsmen on the programmes chalked out by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MoPEMR) marking the national energy security day on August 09 (Friday).

"EMRD will not offer all the open blocks for bidding at a time," said Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) secretary Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem while elaborating the government's plan. "These blocks will be opened in phases."

He added: "We'll separate some of the blocks for bidding while some will be specified for multi-client survey on a priority basis."

These blocks will be offered under the newly approved model production sharing contract (PSC) 2019, where international oil companies (IOCs) will get higher prices for their hydrocarbon output, the secretary said.

"We've revisited the existing model PSC with increased gas price to attract the IOCs following a lukewarm response in the previous bid round," he mentioned.

Briefing the newsmen, Mr Hamid said the government wants to ensure energy for the people at affordable prices. Modern technology will be used for exploring natural resources like coal and natural gas to ensure it.

Regarding exploration of local coal, he said this could be explored using modern technology which will not harm the environment.

Protection of the environment will be key to exploring local coal in line with the instructions of the Prime Minister, Mr Hamid added.

The government is also in discussion with India to import gas through the pipeline to the southern region.

Economic activities would get a boost there with the completion of under-construction Padma Bridge, he added.

No new piped gas connections will be given to households, the junior minister said.

But to ensure better supply of gas to existing consumers, he said, decades-old gas pipeline will be replaced with new ones with automation to check gas pilferage and ensure its efficient use.

A pipeline to carry petroleum products from Chattogram to Dhaka will be constructed for quick transportation of fuel at reduced costs, said Mr Hamid.

Construction of a US$550 million single point mooring (SPM) is also underway to ensure fuel import smoothly and storing in coastal depots.

Responding to a query, he said the employees of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd (TGTDCL) were asked to submit the copy of their tax returns as part of internal inquiry into their assets.

But those will not be made public as tax return is a personal confidential document and National Board of Revenue (NBR) is the legitimate authority to take decision in this regard, he added.

On the occasion of national energy security day, to commemorate the take- over of five gas fields from Anglo-Dutch Shell Oil in 1975 , a seminar will be held at Petrobangla auditorium in the city on Friday.

Newspapers will publish special issue on the day while short message service (SMS) will be sent for creating public awareness about energy efficiency.

Some city road islands will be illuminated and different divisions and district administrations will also observe the day.


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