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Bangla to protest against hydrocarbon exploration

Written by: Staff

Dhaka, May 14: Bangladesh government is planning to lodge a protest against hydrocarbon exploration by India and Myanmar in Bangladesh's territorial waters, violating the international law.

''We will write to the Foreign Ministry in a day or two with necessary information to take up the matter," Energy Ministry Advisor Mahmudur Rahman told reporters today.

There have been concerns that Bangladesh could lose its right to explore hydrocarbon in its territorial waters in the deep-sea as neighbouring India and Myanmar have embarked on seismic surveys overlapping huge undemarcated areas.

According to official sources, India has overlapped 19,000 sqkms while Myanmar about 18,000 sqkms areas within Bangladesh territory in the Bay of Bengal.

But Bangladesh, according to sources, has not yet put any official objection to the seismic survey activities by the two neighbouring countries.

Mr Rahman said the Energy Ministry will provide all necessary support to the Foreign Ministry to establish Bangladesh's legitimate right on its deep-sea territory.

He also said that the Ministry would initiate a move to go for a third round bidding for awarding the country's deep-sea blocks to the foreign oil companies.

In that case, the number of the country's hydrocarbon blocks will be raised to 43 from existing 23 through creating 20 new blocks in the deep-sea area, he added.

Mr Rahman said the Cabinet at its recent meeting approved such a proposal of the Energy Ministry to initiate the bidding process.

He noted that the Energy Ministry has already instructed the state-owned Petrobangla to take necessary steps to remove a court injunction that barred awarding of the gas block to IOCs.


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