Bay of Bengal

Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corp (Petrobangla) is all set to start the bidding process for oil and gas exploration fields in 12 offshore blocks – nine in shallow water and three in deep water – on 9 December 2012.

These blocks are being offered under a new model production sharing contact (PSC) that bans the exportation of gas to other countries, while allowing companies to sell gas to domestic customers directly without involving Petrobangla, although they will have the first right of refusal over gas sales.

The new model PSC also permits the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Co (BAPEX) to bid for the blocks in partnership with state-run oil companies of other nations.

In addition, two discovered shallow water fields – Kutubdia and Teknaf – are being offered as part of a special package for exploration.

Petrobangla chairman Husain Monsur informed that the potential bidders have been given 90 days to submit their bids.

"We are eyeing to award the gas blocks to bid winners by June 2013 to ensure that they can start exploration in the coming winter starting from October 2013," Monsur was quoted by as saying.

This will be the country’s fourth exploration bidding round, following the previous ones in 1993, 1997 and 2008.

In the next round, Bangaldesh intends to offer to the international companies the offshore blocks in Bay of Bengal, which were settled in their favour by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) in early 2012.

Image: Petrobangla is planning to offer offshore blocks in the Bay of Bengal. Photo courtesy of NormanEinstein.