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Petrobangla limits work to reassessment

Manjurul Ahsan

Petrobangla has limited its activities to reassessment of the oil and gas reserves in the old fields instead of conducting two dimensional seismic surveys to identify fresh potentials for the resources, officials said.
Petrobangla, the state-run Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation, took the short-term strategy in a bid to demonstrate its achievement in identifying additional gas reserves, they said.
‘This has resulted in discovery of about 200 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in two gas fields in the last five years while over 3500bcf of gas has been consumed over the period,’ a Petrobangla official told New Age.
The Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company, or Bapex, a subsidiary of Petrobangla, discovered a 50 bcf gas field at Sundulpur in Noakhali in August 2011 and a 161bcf field at Srikail in Comilla near the Bangura field in July 2012.
When asked, Petrobangla chairman Hossain Monsur said two dimensional seismic surveys were suspended in the recent months for unavailability of explosives amid political unrest.
Bapex conducted only about 1,300 line kilometres of two dimensional seismic surveys in the last five years, making no significant contribution to identifying new reserves of oil and gas in the country, according to the data available with Petrobangla.
Meanwhile, Petrobangla abandoned a project of conducting 3,100 line kilometres two dimensional seismic survey in 2011 because of a legal dispute between two foreign companies over who won the tender.
In 2007, Bapex took the project to implement on its own.
But in August 2009, Petrobangla floated a fast-track programme where it adopted the 3,100 line kilometres two dimensional seismic survey to be conducted employing foreign firms.
On the other hand, Bapex conducted three dimensional seismic surveys over six old gas fields owned by three Petrobangla subsidiaries, Bapex, Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Limited and Sylhet Gas Field Company Limited, to reassess the reserves of natural gas there.
By the middle of 2013, Bapex identified additional gas reserves of about 1,500 bcf in Rashidpur and Titas gas fields.
On Wednesday, Bapex reported to Petrobangla that it had identified 49bcf additional gas reserve in Bakhrabad field, the Petrobangla chairman said.
Besides, it has also identified another prospect of 517bcf gas in five fresh layers of Bakhrabad field.
Bakhrabad gas field has already produced about 54 per cent of its reserve since 1984 although it was discovered in 1969 with a recoverable reserve of 1,387bcf.
Now, state-run and international oil companies can jointly supply about 2.3bcf of gas a day against a demand for over 3bcf a day.

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