Hydrocarbon exploration: Experts for formula-based pricing to attract IOCs

A formula-based pricing policy needs to be put in place for attracting international oil companies (IOCs) to explore hydrocarbon in Bangladesh, energy experts said on Saturday.

“Unless there is a formula to fix energy prices, the IOCs will not be interested to come here,” said Khondokar Abdus Saleque, a former senior official of Petrobangla.

Saleque, who was speaking at the seminar “Post-Covid Hydrocarbon Exploration Challenges for Bangladesh,” said that presently, Bangladesh is following a fixed price policy for energy prices; the country is offering $6-plus per unit of gas to the IOCs while it is importing it at over $11.

“In such a situation, the IOCs will not be interested to invest here. Rather, they will be up for it if there is a certain formula for setting the price in line with the global market price,” he added.

Speaking at the webinar organized by Energy and Power magazine, former Petrobangla chairman Muktadir Ali said Bangladesh failed to make any breakthrough in onshore and offshore hydrocarbon exploration only because of the gas price offered to IOCs.

“The country will face the real challenge from 2024-25 when its gas production will begin to slow down and fall below 2,000 MMCFD,” he said.

“Also, we should not depend too much on liquefied natural gas (LNG) import for meeting our energy demand.”

Dhaka University Geology Professor Dr Badrul Imam said the government is now engaging foreign companies in the potential gas fields which were discovered by Bapex.

Petroleum geologist M Faridduddin said: “Petrobangla and Bapex could not take the right decision as they need to get approval from the concerned ministry and higher authorities to explore hydrocarbons.”

Former Bapex managing director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque said the Petrobangla executive board is now dominated by officials from the concerned ministry who do not have the technical know-how.

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