Wednesday, 29 September, 2021
E-paper

No plan for offshore oil bidding soon

Shell, Chevron offer to supply LNG instead of investment in drilling, says a top government official

The government has no immediate plan on oil and gas exploration in the country’s offshore blocks, said a top official.

He said the international companies are not coming with any investment offer in the sector. 

“We currently have no plan to invite offshore bidding as most of the international oil companies are not coming forward to invest here,” Energy and Mineral Resources Division senior secretary Md Anisur Rahman told daily sun on Sunday.

“Instead, some energy giants like Chevron and Shell have offered us to supply LNG as the investment of that much is not needed here,” he said.

However, the international oil market has recently bounced back as a sign of recovery from the pandemic shocks.

Md Anisur Rahman said Petrobangla was planning to conduct a seismic survey in onshore blocks in next one and half years to increase the production of natural gas.

The ministry also asked international oil companies like Chevron to conduct survey in their blocks, he said.

Senior secretary said the government would continue to import LNG to meet the shortfall in the days ahead.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) had a plan to float the tender on September 15, 2020, said officials

The announcement to float the bidding round was made on March 17, 2020 setting the deadline for receiving bids from the international oil companies (IOCs) for March 10, 2021.

The signing of production sharing contracts (PSCs) with bid-winning IOCs was to be held by May 26, 2021.

Under the plan, the state-run Petrobangla was to launch the bidding round offering offshore blocks adjacent to gas-rich blocks of Myanmar.

With the exit of Australian Santos and Kris Energy from shallow-water block SS-11, the exploration activities in shallow water block also squeezed further and went on at a snail's pace.

Petrobangla floated the last bidding round eight years back in 2012 through which shallow-water blocks and one deep-water block were awarded to contractors.

But not a single exploratory well was drilled by the contractors by this time.

Petrobangla rather extended the tenure of PSCs for each of the contractors by two years each.

To allure the IOCs for the planned bidding round, Petrobangla had revised upward the price of natural gas in the latest model production sharing contract (MPSC).

And as per the model PSC 2019, the gas price for deep sea blocks was set at around $7.26 per MMBtu, or million British thermal unit, up by 11.69 per cent from the previous MPSC for the deep sea blocks.

The offshore gas price was set to increase every year by 1.5 per cent from the date of first gas production, according to the model PSC.

Currently, Bangladesh has a total of 31 open blocks for offer in the next bidding round.

Of them, nine blocks are located in onshore areas, 14 in deep sea, and eight in shallow sea areas.

The country's natural gas output is hovering around 2,886 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), of which 400 mmcfd is re-gasified imported LNG, according to Petrobangla statistics as of February 10, 2021.

The entire local production comes from onshore gas fields.

Currently, four IOCs have active PSCs either individually or under a joint venture to explore three shallow-water blocks for offshore exploration.

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

The country has not offered any onshore oil and gas blocks since 1997.

The government is planning infrastructural development to increase annual LNG import capacity to 4000 mmcfd by FY2031-32

The government has decided to conduct a feasibility study to import LNG through Mongla Port.

Two FSRUs have already been installed in the island to process 675mmcfd of LNG against the capacity of 1000 mmcfd.

Earlier, three separate companies proposed to set up FSRUs and import LNG using Mongla, Bangladesh’s second major seaport.

The local energy giant Summit, US firm Excelerate and UAE-based ENOC proposed to establish the FSRUs separately with a capacity of 500 mmcfd each.

Besides, the Petrobangla is also working to import 500 mmcfd of LNG in two phases through cross-border negotiation with the Indian IOCL and H-Energy, said the ministry officials.      

The government has a plan to increase LNG import at least by 1600 mmcfd to supply 3465 mmcfd annually by the FY 2023-24.

The government is now able to supply 3107 mmcfd gas against the demand of around 4000 mmcfd to different sectors.

In the FY2024-25, the LNG import will surge to 2350 mmcfd against the requirement of 4343 mmcfd of natural gas, according to a Petrobangla projection.   

The demand of natural gas is predicted to reach 5092 mmcfd by 2041, of which, 3850 mmcfd will be met by import.