The Bangladesh government may award offshore gas exploration contracts to multinational companies in the Bay of Bengal while excluding blocks that may fall in the territories under dispute with neighbours India and Myanmar.

Dhaka may give gas exploration contracts to foreign companies
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the energy division to send a proposal to the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) to award nine offshore gas blocks to two international oil companies, New Age newspaper said.
US firm ConocoPhilips may be selected for the offshore exploration and the Irish firm Tullow Oil may be awarded a shallow-water block, leaving out the ones in disputed areas.
The task of awarding oil and exploration contracts has been pending for long since the Khaleda Zia government (2001-06) withheld decisions on energy issues in the final phase of its rule. The Zia government was followed by a caretaker government (2007-08) that also shied away from decision-making.
Bangladesh is handicapped by the absence of a maritime boundary with neighbours India and Myanmar. This has kept away major multinational energy exploration companies.
“The government may award only three to four blocks to the two oil companies as it does not want to take any decision right at this moment about the blocks that are in the offshore areas which have also been claimed by India and Myanmar,” an official of the energy division said.
The CCEA headed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, officials said, will decide as per the proposal to the prime minister that includes a detailed account of the process adopted in selection.
The government will ensure that it does not award too many blocks to a single company to keep its options open, officials said.
In a related move, the state sector Petrobangla on Tuesday awarded US firm Chevron a $52mn contract to install gas compressor and conduct 3D survey in Jalalabad in the northeastern region.
The gas compressor station will be installed at Muchai in the gas pipeline owned by the state sector Gas Transmission Company., The Daily Star reported. IANS
gulf times

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