IOCs to continue offshore exploration
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament yesterday that her government wanted to explore gas and oil in the deep sea with the help of international oil companies “for the time being” as the task was “risky and expensive”.
She also said that state-run Bapex would be able to explore gas and oil in the Bay “in the near future” as her government had taken steps to strengthen Bapex and make it self-sufficient.
The premier said an inter-ministerial meeting held on April 3, 2012 decided that the foreign ministry would take measures to demarcate the maritime boundary according to the recent verdict delivered by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
“On completion of the demarcation job, the government will prepare block maps and arrange a bidding round for production-sharing contracts,” the prime minister said in reply to lawmakers’ queries.
She, however, said 10 percent carried-interest in every offshore block had been preserved for Bapex. “We hope it will be possible to explore oil and gas in the sea through Bapex in the near future,” the PM said.
Having won the legal battle with Myanmar over the maritime boundary issue, said Hasina, her government planned to take coordinated measures to collect sea resources and to ensure their better use.
The government had taken steps to teach maritime science at the universities of Dhaka and Chittagong to create skilled manpower, she said, adding that it was working to set up a national maritime research institute soon.
Hasina said her government had also taken steps to purchase a specialised fishing ship through the fisheries and livestock ministry.
“The maritime cell under the foreign ministry has been strengthened and a separate national unit will be set up under the foreign ministry to coordinate all maritime-related activities,” she added.
People will be benefited by the maritime boundary verdict once the government’s plans are implemented, the PM asserted.