POST TIME: 12 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 December, 2016 01:32:41 AM
ShaHbajpur, Bhola well drilling
Talks on with Gazprom to lower costs

Talks on with Gazprom 
to lower costs

The Energy Division has started negotiating with Gazprom to lower the price of drilling two wells at the Shahbajpur-1 and Bhola gas fields. Energy secretary Nazimuddin Chowdhury presided over the meeting at the Secretariat last week, sources said. On October 9, the Russian giant asked for USD 34.3 million to drill the two wells. The amount is almost double the offer made by the state-owned exploration company, the Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (Bapex).
The government company offered to do the job for only USD 19.85 million. But some government officials are reportedly interested in awarding the job to Gazprom. In November, Bapex managing director (MD) Atiqur Rahman was transferred to another company allegedly because he rejected the Gazprom offer. The newly appointed MD of Bapex, Nawsad Islam, told the Independent yesterday, “We have started holding meetings with the Gazprom officials, but a decision is yet to be taken. We will have more meetings with them to fix the rate and other technical issues. Only then can we give you further details.” Bapex offered to drill the Sahbajpur well for USD 9.925 million whereas Gazprom offered to do it for USD 16.605 million. For Bhola, Bapex’s offer was USD 9.925 million and Gazprom’s offer was USD 17.69 million. According to the government’s current estimates, if the two fields are successfully drilled, they could produce 30–40 MMCF of gas.
The government’s technical committee observed in a report that Gazprom’s offer is a lump-sum amount and not an itemised breakdown that Bapex has submitted. The Russian company has not included mobilisation, demobilisation, moving, and duty costs.
Also, its papers mentioned that it would take 80 days to finish the Shahbajpur well, and 91 days to complete the Bhola well, which is not easy.
If the workdays are extended, the cost will shoot up. The technical committee pointed this out to the ministry. The committee has recommended that Gazprom’s proposal be sent back to its head office and the government should seek revised technical and financial offers that seem more rational. Sources told The Independent that some influential figures are trying to get the job done at a high price to maximise their profits.
For the last three years, Gazprom has drilled three wells in the government’s gas fields, including the Titas field. But the outcome has been far from satisfactory.