Fresh bid for offshore blocks likely in Nov

Shamim Jahangir

12 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

The government is contemplating to invite fresh bidding round for the country’s land and sea blocks in November, a top official said.

The last bid round happened in 2012 for exploring oil and gas in the Bay.

“We’re expected to finilise the model production contracts (PSC’s) 2018 within this month and hopeful of inviting bid round for different sea blocks within one and half months,” Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah told the daily sun.

The government will also invite bid for onshore blocks on a limited scale, he added.

“We’re planning to invite bid for 22 offshore blocks in the bidding round,” the Petrobangla chairman opined.

Petrobangla is preparing the model PSC for onshore and offshore blocks separately, he said.

“We’ve allowed export provision in the model PSC for the first time,” the Petrobangla chair added.

The Model PSC will also exclude mandatory drilling for at least one exploratory well in the Bay, according to him.

Earlier, it was mandatory to drill at least one exploration well after conducting 2D and 3D seismic survey.

To attract international oil companies, the government will also consider pipeline cost of the successive exploration well in the Bay, reliable sources said.

At least 10 percent carried stake of state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (BAPEX) will continue like the previous PSC-2012.

After delimitation of the maritime boundary in 2012, the government has signed three shallow sea blocks, including the Shallow Sea (SS) block-04 and SS-09 with joint venture ONGV Videsh Ltd and Oil India Ltd and the SS-11 with joint venture Santos and KrisEnergy Ltd.

The joint venture, Santos and KrisEnergy Ltd, has already conducted 3220 line kilometres 2D seismic survey and 305 squire kilometers 3D seismic survey.

“The Santos JV has found some prospect of  exploring oil and gas in the block,” sources said.

The company is expected to drill one well by the first quarter in 2019, sources confirmed.

Besides, the ONGC Videsh Ltd and Oil India Ltd has already conducted 3010 line kilometres and 2542 line kilometres seismic survey in blocks-SS-04 and SS-09.

The ONGC Videsh Ltd is expected to drill one well in the coming dry season by current year and another two wells in the first quarter of 2019.            

The government also signed a deep sea (DS) block-12 with the POSCO DAEWOO Corporation on March 14, 2017 under special act. The company has already completed 3580 line kilometres 2D seismic survey, official said, adding, it finds potential prospect in the block.

In 2011, the government signed PSC with US company ConocoPhillips on DS-10 and DS-11. The company found prospect on these deep sea blocks but relinquished the blocks due to unfavorable PSC terms and conditions, official said.

“Our fiscal terms and conditions will be more favourable in the fresh PSC and we’re expected to get more response from international oil companies,” Petrobangla officials said.

Mortuza Ahmad Faruque, former managing director of BAPEX, said, “We’ve already delayed to invite bids for offshore blocks. It’s a time to explore shallow and deep sea blocks and some unexplored blocks in Chittagong hill tracts.”

He said the natural gas output will help reduce costly LNG import here. “New gas output here will also be affordable,” he opined.

The government should prepare fiscal terms and conditions of the model PSC considering the neighboring countries, he said.