Bangladesh discovers 137 mn barrels of oil

Dhaka: The Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation – popularly known as Petrobangla – Sunday announced the discovery of 137 million barrels of oil in two old gasfields in the country’s northeastern Sylhet district.Petrobangla estimated that there were 53 million barrels of proven extractable oil in Kailashtila and Haripur gas fields in Sylhet, some 240 km from the capital Dhaka, Xinhua reported.

Petrobangla chairman Hossain Mansur said the oil in Kailashtila was light in nature and easily extractable, while that in Haripur was heavier.

He said the Kailashtila’s reserve, spread over five to six layers, was almost three times of that in Haripur.

Oil was first discovered in Haripur in the late 1980s but it was abandoned later as the authorities considered the field commercially not viable.

The latest discovery will help Bangladesh as the south Asian nation of about 150 million people is in dire need of locating new sources of energy.

The government has forecast that the current gas reserves will run out in the next five years at the present consumption rate.

Mansur said though the amount of oil from the fields was nothing compared to the country’s annual demand, “we’re so happy because we are going to join the oil producing nations”.

He said Bangladesh will soon float an international bid to select foreign firms to extract oil from the fields within a year.

Bangladesh’s fuel oil consumption has jumped to 4.8 million tonnes in the fiscal year 2011-12 (July 2011-June 2012). The amount is likely to surge to 6.8 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, said an unnamed official of state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).

The country’s overall electricity generation is now about 5,600 MW per day against a demand of around 7,000 MW.

The BPC official said fuel import costs of Bangladesh will be a record USD 5 billion in the current fiscal year compared to USD 4 billion in the last fiscal year.