A fresh assessment by Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company, Bapex, showed that gas reserves at Shahbazpur field in Bhola may exceed one trillion cubic feet from its previous estimate at 0.665 tcf.
Bapex managing director Nowshad Islam on Wednesday told New Age that data extracted from a fresh well named Shahbazpur East showed indications of a reserve of at least 1 tcf at Shahbazpur field.
He also said that Bapex would require drilling further development wells to make a better assessment about the size and shape of Shahbazpur gas field.
On October 23, cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, however, told a briefing that the cabinet meeting was informed Bapex had discovered a new gas field in Bhola with a 0.7 tcf gas reserve.
Bapex came up with the assessment after observing gas pressure and flow pattern of the well on Wednesday morning. The well is located at 3.5 kilometers from the first well drilled at Shahbazpur gas field and 1.5 km from the third well, said officials.
Bapex former managing director Mortuza Ahmad Chisty said that there was little chance of presence of a fresh gas field in an existing one.
In case of a gas field within an existing one, the reserve of the previously discovered gas field would be reduced significantly as its reserve was estimated considering the area.
In previous estimates, Shahbazpur gas field covered 69 square kilometers with a 4-km radius along East-West and the new well was drilled in 3.5 kms off the centre of the field, he said.
Mortuza, however, said that it was great news that the country’s net gas reserve increased significantly at a time when the government planned to increase gas supplies from expensive imported Liquefied Natural Gas.
The increased reserve would help reducing dependence on the imported LNG, he added.
Asked about the fresh assessment of the Shahbazpur gas field, Nowshad said that Bapex had received gas flow from the well at a pressure more than 5,000 psi (pound per square inch) which is equal the pressure which it received at other wells more close to the centre of the field.
‘Now, it is confirmed that Shahbazpur gas field is much wider along East-West than our previous estimates,’ he explained.
When asked whether the Shahbazpur East well was an exploration well, Mortuza said that it is supposed to be an appraisal or development well as its location was within Shahbazpur gas field while an exploration well is usually located in a fresh area with a significant distance from an existing gas field.
Nowshad, however, claimed that the well was an exploration well as its objective included exploration of two new gas containing sand layers which were indicated in the report of three dimensional seismic survey carried out by Bapex earlier.
‘But unfortunately we didn’t find presence of commercially recoverable gas in those layers. Instead, we found the commercial gas in a sand layer of Shahbazpur gas field,’ he explained.
On the other hand, some officials said that Bapex might have been desperate to prove it as an exploration well as every success in an exploration well offers Bapex officials a handsome bonus.
Under an unsolicited contract, Russian gas company Gazprom through its partner organisation Ariel Corporation drilled the well.
Under the same contract, Gazprom will start drilling of an exploration well named Bhola North, some 20 kms off the Shahbajpur gas field, in the next month, said officials.
Gazprom charged $33.2 million for drilling of the two wells which Bapex could do at 66 per cent of the cost, they said.
Bapex is hopeful of discovering a gas field after drilling of the Bhola North well.
Until now, Bangladesh has a total reserve of 12 tcf and would start declining current level of gas supplies, 2,750 million cubic feet per day, from 2018. At least 26 per cent of current demand for natural gas remains unmet with the supplies, according to Petrobangla, Bapex’s parent organisation and state-run Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Corporation.