Drilling Gas Wells in Bhola

Govt plans to sign ‘costly deal’ with Gazprom

Shamim Jahangir

25 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The government is planning to sign a fresh deal with Russian company Gazprom to drill three development wells at Shahbazpur gas field in Bhola.

Sources said drilling of development wells by a foreign company will cost more though the state-owned Bapex has the capacity to do the same job.

In a recent meeting, Prime Minister’s Power and Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury instructed Petrobangla to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gazprom for drilling the three wells.

He also asked the Bapex to share data of the wells so that the Gazprom can easily drill the wells.

The Gazprom will conduct a survey in 20 square kilometre area using the data.

Another official source said Bapex has already decided to drill three wells in Bhola with Gazprom.

“We have already signed an initial with the Russian giant for drilling the wells,” he said.

The Petrobangla has already asked the Gazprom to submit technical and financial proposals for drilling the wells in the country’s one of the largest gas prospect.      

In 2017, the Gazprom drilled two wells in Bhola with discovery of a major reservoir using the Bapex data.         

At that time, Bapex sought Tk 78.41 crore for Shahbazpur East-1 while Gazprom drilled the well at Tk 131.18 crore.

For the Bhola (north) well project, Bapex wanted to complete the project with an amount of Tk 78.41 crore whereas Gazprom got Tk 139.79 crore under special power act.

Prof Sayed Badrul Imam said the government should engage the Gazprom for unexplored gas prospect in the country.

“I think the state-owned Bapex can explore gas in development wells after discovery of gas field in Bhola,” Prof Imam, a geologist and teacher of Dhaka University, said.

He said the engagement of Gazprom in drilling development wells will increase the gas output cost.

Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) energy adviser Prof Shamsul Alam said, “It’s a suicidal move to allow Gazprom for drilling oil in Bhola despite the capacity of Bapex for it.”

The government should engage the Bapex for exploring development wells in Bhola, he said.

“Commission agents are working for the engagement of foreign oil firms in onshore fields here,” he said.

The government move will also impact on gas tariff hike, he said.              

On October 22 in 2017, cabinet secretary M Shafiul Alam informed journalists that a new field has reserves of about 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas. This new gas field -- Shahbazpur Gas Field East-1 -- is three-and-a-half kilometres east of the Shahbazpur Gas Field, officials said.

Now, the Bapex is producing around 63mmcfd of natural gas from three wells in Shahbazpur Gas Field.    

The demand for natural gas in the country has been estimated at 3781mmcfd against the supply of 3139 mmcfd from 21 existing gas fields.