Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) will jointly conduct seismic surveys in Bhola in search of gas and oil.
There are two gas fields is Bhola at present covering an area of around 8,000 square kilometres.
Two deals were signed at Petrobangla’s Kawran Bazar office yesterday. One was between its secretary, Ashfaq Hossain, and Gazprom CEO Vitaly Markelov on strategic cooperation.
Bapex Secretary Mohammad Ali and Gazprom Head of Gas Production Sergey Menshikov signed the other on jointly conducting 2D/3D seismic surveys.
During a visit to Russia in 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged her counterpart to aid Bangladesh’s gas exploration and development activities.
In 2012 a turnkey agreement was signed with Gazprom as contractor to drill 10 wells to extract gas under areas of Bapex, Bangladesh Gas Fields Company and Sylhet Gas Fields.
No tender was issued as the “Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provisions) Act, 2010” was used.
Wells were drilled at Srikail of Cumilla and Shahbazpur of Bhola. Gas was discovered in the latter and extraction has been ongoing for the past 10 years. Three more wells were planned to be drilled there.
Bapex discovered another gas field in Bhola in 2017. The government decided to take help from Russia’s Gazprom to assess reserves there.
In June 2017 an agreement was signed between the energy and mineral resources division and Russia’s energy ministry to boost cooperation. In June 2018, Gazprom sent a letter to Petrobangla to jointly conduct research. Yesterday’s deals were an outcome of this.
Briefing reporters, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, said the Bapex-Gazprom joint surveys would evaluate reserves in the existing two Bhola gas fields.
These will also fix sites for drilling wells for gas extraction and develop a strategy for further exploration and development of gas fields, he said.
He said Gazprom would carry out the geological survey and analysis while Bapex the seismic survey and collection of other relevant data.
In reply to a question, he said Gazprom has been chosen to make use of its experience and fast conduct the survey.
Among others, Md Anisur Rahman, senior secretary to the energy and mineral resources division; ABM Abdul Fattah, Petrobangla chairman, and Alexander I Ignatov, Russian ambassador to Bangladesh, addressed the ceremony.