Bangladesh High Court issues temporary injunction against gas exports to India

The High Court of Bangladesh has blocked for at least 3 months a government move to allow major oil companies to export natural gas to neighboring India. International oil companies hope permission will be granted in the future.

By an OGJ Online Correspondent

MUMBAI, Dec. 7 -- The High Court of Bangladesh has blocked for at least 3 months a government moves to allow major oil companies to export natural gas to neighboring India.

It issued a temporary injunction against exports, overriding production-sharing contracts between the government and international oil companies. The companies hope permission will be granted in the future.

The issue of gas exports is a political controversy for Bangladesh.

Geologists have reported gas reserves in Bangladesh would only last until 2015 if exports were allowed to India.

Bangladesh's proven gas reserves are 297 billion cu m. At its current rate of production, Bangladesh has enough gas reserves to meet demand for the next 37 years. Foreign investors believe potential reserves are significantly higher, although their estimates differ (OGJ Online, June 19, 2000, p. 20).

India's huge gas demand is continuing to grow. While there are no pipelines now between the nations, Bangladesh's proximity to India offers an advantage over other suppliers and over India's next best option, liquefied natural gas imports.

Bangladesh could earn $300 million to $1.7 billion/year by exporting gas to India.

Several foreign oil firms have asked Bangladesh to allow exports. Unocal Corp. has proposed a $500 million, 500 MMcfd export pipeline from Bibiyana field in the northeast to New Delhi.

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