Sunday, June 16, 2024

Bapex finds oil in abandoned fields

The state-run energy exploration company, Bapex, has found extractable and economically viable oil in two oilfields abandoned two decades ago.
The oilfields in Sylhet are able to produce at least 55 million barrels of oil, which could meet the country’s total demand for petroleum for more than two years, officials said yesterday.
The proven oil reserves at the Kailashtila and Haripur fields in the northern division are about 137 million barrels of which, 55 million barrels can be produced, said Prof Md Hossain Monsur, chairman of Petrobangla.
“This is for the first time Bangladesh has discovered economically viable oilfields. I hope we will be able to start production by next one year,” he said while briefing reporters at his office in Karwan Bazar in Dhaka.
The disclosure came after Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Ltd (Bapex) determined, through a 3D seismic survey at the Sylhet Gas Fields Company Ltd, the presence of the oil in the old gas fields of Kailashtila and Haripur.
At Kailashtila, about 109 million barrels of oil have been found. Of them, 44 million barrels could be produced through the existing system. At Haripur, 11 million barrels out of the 28 million barrels oil found could be produced, said Monsur.
Besides, the three-dimensional seismic survey conducted last year also pinpointed some new small gas reserves in both fields that could be tapped into.
Kailashtila has 1.748 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserve and the Haripur field 310 billion cubic feet. Bapex found a new gas zone in Haripur with the possibility of hitting another 223 billion cubic feet of gas.
The discovery of oil in Haripur is not new.
Bapex discovered the country’s first ever oilfield in Haripur in 1986. The then government gave responsibility of producing oil from the field to a foreign company.
The company produced 5.60 lakh barrels of oil between 1987 and 1994. But due to low pressure, the company quit later. As a result, the government abandoned the field.
Recently, Sylhet Gas Fields and Bangladesh Gas Fields Company have taken up a project financed by the Asian Development Bank to revive the fields. Bapex is implementing the project.
“I am convinced that there is oil in Kailashtila. If the subsequent governments had taken initiatives, Bangladesh would have been an oil producing country by this time,” said Badrul Imam, a professor of geology at the University of Dhaka.
Bangladesh imports 25 million barrels of oil a year.
Bapex Managing Director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque said: “We have treated these fields as gas fields. From now on, we will consider them as oilfields.”
He said the quality of the oil is good as the presence of phosphorus content is negligible.
Using indigenous gas by-product “condensate”, the Sylhet Gas Field was already producing 3,000 tonnes of octane, petrol, diesel and kerosene a day by setting up a fractionation plant in Rashidpur.
This translates into an annual production of more than one lakh tonnes of petroleum products that cover most part of the local octane demands.
Monsur also said they believe there are oilfields under the country’s major gas zones. “We will be able to ensure the presence of the oil by conducting drilling. We need more help from the government to reach and produce them.”
Tofazzal Hossain, managing director of Sylhet Gas Fields Ltd, Saiful Alam Chowdhury, Molla Md Mobirul Hossain and Md Rafiqul Islam, Petrobangla directors, and Mehrul Hasan, party chief of Bapex, were present at the briefing.

-With The Daily Star input

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