The Financial Express

Next bidding round: IOCs seek lower tax, flexible terms

FE Report | Published: September 23, 2019 10:10:43 | Updated: September 25, 2019 10:38:31

IOCs seek lower tax, flexible terms

International oil companies have sought contractual flexibility, including corporate tax benefits and reserve-based pricing in the next round of bidding for hydrocarbon exploration.

But some firms preferred to keep mum during their talks with state-run Petrobangla over the past week.

Petrobangla arranged the discussions with the interested energy firms to get their views on the benefits offered in the freshly-minted production sharing contracts before the next bidding round.

Talks with several IOCs has already completed, while a few more will join this week, said a senior Petrobangla official.

The IOCs that have shown interest include the ExxonMobil of the United States, BP of the United Kingdom, POSCO of South Korea and PTTEP of Thailand, and a new Japanese oil and gas company.

Petrobangla top officials are having one-to-one talks with the IOCs to keep them abreast with the hydrocarbon pricing, contract terms and updates about seismic survey, he said.

During the talks, some IOCs argued that the flexibility in contracts will help secure investments after delineating hydrocarbon prospect.

Others sought enhanced tax benefits and reserve-based fiscal terms and benefits to reap better output.

Unlike previous occasions, Petrobangla expects the terms of model contract to be more attractive.

Petrobangla's past rounds drew tepid responses from the IOCs.

Such pre-bid talks with the IOCs in the past were rare.

About the next round of bidding, officials said the IOCs would not be required to carry out 2D seismic survey this time. TGS-Schlumberger, a Norwegian-US joint venture (JV), will conduct the survey.

On completion of the survey, the IOCs will be able to purchase non-exclusive multi-client seismic data of the offshore blocks from the JV to carry out basin evaluation and prospect generation.

The JV, however, will have to share the seismic data and the profits with Petrobangla at free of cost.

The TGS-Schlumberger would get two years to complete the survey and over the next eight years it would trade the data without any charge.

Officials said Bangladesh never carried out multi-client seismic survey in offshoare areas.

In the past, winning IOCs would carry out seismic surveys on their own in their respective blocks both in onshore and offshore locations before the firms initiated oil and gas exploration.

Petrobangla had held offshore bidding rounds in 2008 and 2012. It, however, has not offered any onshore oil and gas blocks since 1997.

Bangladesh currently has a total of 31 open blocks to offer in the next bidding round, of which nine are located in onshore areas, 14 located in deep sea, and eight in the shallow sea.

Currently, only four onshore gas-fields are in production, operated by the US-based Chevron and Singapore's Kris Energy.

Five IOCs, however, have active contracts, either individually or under joint venture, to explore three shallow water blocks and one deep water block.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) are jointly exploring shallow water blocks-- SS-04 and SS-09.

The joint venture of Australian Santos and Kris Energy is exploring shallow water block SS-11.

POSCO Daewoo Corporation has exploration contract to discover hydrocarbon in deep water block DS-12.

The country's daily natural gas production of around 2,700 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) comes from onshore fields alone.

The overall natural gas output is around 3,200 mmcfd, including supplies of re-gasified liquefied natural gas.


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