The energy division has decided to engage Russain gas company Gazprom to drill five more wells in three onshore gas fields reducing the scope of work for the state-run Bapex.
The energy division on Sunday sent a proposal to the cabinet committee on government purchase seeking its approval for the contract to be awarded to Gazprom for drilling the five wells at a cost of $96.3 million (about Tk 750 crore) without tender, officials said.
Bapex, Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company Ltd, spends less than Tk 70 crore to drill a well, while Gazprom would charge about Tk 150 crore, they said.
Gazprom, under Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act 2010, would drill one well at Bakhrabad field of Bangladesh Gas Fields Ltd, three wells at Rashidpur field of Sylhet Gas Fields Ltd and one at Srikail field of Bapex, according to the proposal.
The energy division came up with the decision even after gaining a very little output from 10 expensive onshore wells drilled by Gazprom at a cost of about Tk 1,500 crore between 2012 and 2014.
The 10 wells give hardly 130 million cubic feet gas against the expected volume of 250 mmcfd gas.
The gas production companies, like the previous contract, would pay Gazprom from the Gas Development Fund.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission on August 1, 2009 created the fund to strengthen the capacity of Bapex, accumulating extra money collected from consumers through a gas price hike.
Energy expert Badrul Imam, also Dhaka University geology department professor, said that the government decision would shrink the Bapex through reducing its scope of work.
The decision would turn Bapex into a useless organisation with all of its expertise and equipments, Badrul said.
‘In 2012, the hammer first came upon Bapex when its scheduled project of drilling five wells was awarded to Gazprom along with a fast-track programme of drilling five other wells,’ he said.
BGFCL, SGFL and Bapex, on April 26, 2012, signed contracts with Gazprom to drill the 10 wells in five gas fields.
Under the contracts, Gazprom drilled four wells at the Titas field of BGFCL, one at Rashidpur field of SGFL and two each at Shahabajpur and Semutang fields and one at Begumganj field of Bapex.
The drilling of five wells in Titas and Rashidpur gas fields was under a fast-track programme of Petrobangla adopted in 2009 and the rest five were under the gas extraction enhancement programme of Bapex.
Source: New Age