Emergency Bangladesh cabinet meeting on gas exports

Vol 7, PW 11 (13 Aug 03) News in Brief

Panic appears to have gripped authorities in Bangladesh following Shell's surprise decision to quit the country's upstream sector (See story in next section).

We understand Bangladesh prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia is expected to chair a crucial cabinet meeting on 17th August to discuss whether or not to export limited quantities of gas to India. Energy minister A.

K.M Mosharraf Hossain is scheduled to present an overview of the domestic gas sector and to make a fresh case for gas exports.

Pressure on the Bangladesh government to make clear its position on gas exports is likely to intensify in the weeks ahead. Before Shell's decision, the Asian Development Bank had already warned Dhaka that it would not fund a proposed $200m gas pipeline in northern Bangladesh unless the country agrees to export gas to India.

Opposition parties in Bangladesh are warning of trouble. On 9th August former prime minister Sheikh Hasina repeated her party's staunch opposition to exports.