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US oil giant seeks preference in future bidding in Bangladesh

Publication Date : 24-07-2012


US oil giant ConocoPhillips yesterday sought a preference from Bangladesh when the country invites international bidding to explore gas and oil in the sea in the future, officials said.

ConocoPhillips Vice President William Lafferrandre and its Managing Director Thomas J. Earley requested for the privilege during a meeting with Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith at his office in Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

After the meeting, Muhith told reporters that ConocoPhillips wants preferential treatment in the Bangladesh's next round of international bidding to award offshore blocks.

He said the US company earlier sent a letter to the government. Its officials now came to enquire about the issue.

Muhith said Bangladesh has not split its offshore blocks yet. The government would consider their proposal when it divides the blocks.

ConocoPhillips placed the demand at a time when the government plans to float an international bidding following international courts verdict that gave Bangladesh control of an area equivalent to its size in the sea.

Muhith also said ConocoPhilips has sought permission to conduct exploration in the erstwhile disputed part of Blocks 10 and 11, as Bangladesh's maritime dispute with Myanmar has settled.

The US company obtained eight blocks in the offshore gas block bidding in 2008. But the government awarded them only two -- Block 10 and 11 -- and cancelled the bidding for other six blocks because of the then dispute with India and Myanmar.

In June last year, Petrobangla signed production sharing contract with ConocoPhillips for the two blocks. But it tagged a condition that ConocoPhillips will not be able to work in 30 percent area of Block 10 and 15 percent area of Block 11 unless disputes with India and Myanmar are resolved.

Bangladesh's arbitration with India still remains pending.

Muhith said ConocoPhillips now wants to work in those areas which they were not allowed to work earlier.


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