US oil firm Chevron Bangladesh placed an unsolicited proposal to the government to expand its operational area by 67 square kiliometres, under onshore block 12 at Bibiyana gas field, officials said.
Chevron demanded the extended area which its predecessor Unocal relinquished after the discovery of Bibiyana gas field in 1998, they said, reports the New Age.
‘Under normal circumstances, Chevron will have to bid for oil and gas exploration in the area if the government floats a tender for the job,’ a Petrobangla official said.
Chevron placed the proposal for expanding its operational area of Bibiyana gas field, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid told New Age.
On Sunday, policy makers and officials of energy division and Petrobangla discussed the matter at a meeting, he said. Prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury attended the meeting.
Nasrul, however, did not give any detail on the matter.
Other officials of the energy division and Petrobangla also kept silent in this regard.
In April 2010, Petrobangla signed an unsolicited contract with Chevron giving it 73 square kilometers of additional area adjacent to the Jalalabad gas field.
Experts, rights activists, including the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, protested the then Awami League-led government’s decision to allocate the 73 square km area without a tender.
Chevron alone supplies over 46 per cent of the country’s total gas to the national grid from three big gas fields, namely Bibiyana, Moulvibazar and Jalalabad. It operates the gas fields under three separate production sharing contracts.
Activists and officials allege that the US firm has been pursuing the authorities concerned to realise different benefits beyond stated contracts, leveraging its position as the largest gas supplier, as well as the influence of the US government.