October 27, 2011 / 12:23 PM / 8 years ago

Bangladesh-China joint venture to explore gas-BAPEX

DHAKA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s state energy firm said it expected to enter a joint venture with China soon to explore for gas in southeastern Chittagong, which could help ease acute gas shortages that have forced many Bangladeshi industries to shut or delay operations.

The Energy Ministry has approved the joint venture between Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX) and Sinopec Shengli Oil-field Services of China to undertake the exploration “in the quickest possible time”, said Mortuza Ahmed Faruque, managing director of BAPEX, on Thursday.

“It is a first initiative to explore gas in the country’s hilly region in a joint venture with a foreign energy firm,” he told Reuters.

Sinopec will have a 30 percent stake in the project and BAPEX 70 percent, Faruque said.

“Next week we will invite the Chinese firm to finalise the deal. We want to move ahead in the quickest possible time as the country badly needs to boost gas supplies urgently,” he said.

Faruque did not give a cost estimate for the project.

He said the government had planned to initiate gas exploration in four structures in Chittagong Hill Tracts under the joint venture between BAPEX and Sinopec.

The joint venture firms will develop four gas structures in the hilly region, located in block 22 that covers around 13,900 square kilometers of area.

BAPEX now produces about 60 million cubic feet of gas per day out of the country’s total production of around 2 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day. At present, Bangladesh’s daily gas demand is 2.5 bcf. (Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Anis Ahmed and Jane Baird)

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