Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex) is planning to dig 29 onshore gas wells in the country in the next two years to ensure energy security, according to sources.
In order to carry out the digging, the state-owned company plans to buy a new rig and other necessary equipment, rent three more rigs, and conduct a two-dimensional seismic survey.
Bapex has already sent proposals to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) in this regard, sources told the Dhaka Tribune.
According to the proposals, the project will cost around Tk4,500 crore and Bapex hopes to extract around 425 million cubic feet of gas from these wells.
“The project will be implemented in two phases. Of the 29 wells, 23 will be exploration wells and 6 will be development wells,” said Md Atiquzzaman, managing director of Bapex.
“We are hoping to extract 350 million cubic feet of gas from the exploration wells and 75 million cubic feet from the development wells,” he told the Dhaka Tribune in a recent conversation.
During the first phase of the project, 18 wells will be dug at the cost of Tk2,000 crore. In the second phase, Bapex will dig the 11 other wells, buy the new rig and conduct the seismic survey at the expense of around Tk2,500 crore, sources said.
Bapex has sought funds from the Gas Development Fund of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources for the first phase and from the Energy Security Fund of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) for the second phase.
The government, however, has yet to fix the policy of spending money from the Energy Security Fund; the BERC is currently working to formulate said policy, sources said.
Bapex MD Atiquzzaman said Bapex had gained full capacity to conduct any onshore exploration work and will hire necessary human resources on contractual basis to operate the rigs.
Terming Bapex’s new initiative encouraging, Dr Badrul Imam, professor of geology at Dhaka University, said Bapex should be provided with both technical and financial assistance.
“Bapex has serious shortage of manpower, especially with technical skills. This issue must be resolved,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Prof Imam further said Bapex should be given absolute freedom to carry out its work. “If it has to wait for six months for a government decision in order to carry out a job, then it will be very difficult for Bapex to move forward with any project.”
Oil and gas exploration has been exhausted in most of the 28 onshore gas blocks in the country. At present, energy giant Chevron is conducting exploration in three blocks while Krisenergy-Niko is exploring one block. Besides, state-owned Bangladesh Gas Fields Company Limited and Sylhet Gas Fields Limited are extracting gas from a few existing wells.