The Bangladesh Government has put forward plans to issue offshore gas exploration contracts in the Bay of Bengal to international companies, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced.

The blocks will include all in the Bay apart from those that fall into territories under dispute with neighbours India and Myanmar, the New Age newspaper reported.

Hasina has urged the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) to grant nine offshore gas blocks to two international oil companies.

As a result offshore exploration contracts may be awarded to ConocoPhillips, while Tullow Oil could be selected for a shallow-water block, according to the paper.