GAIL wants two exploration blocks in Bangladesh

Vol 6, PW 1 (13 Mar 02) People & Policy

FIRST IT WAS Myanmar, now it's Bangladesh! GAIL clearly sees no limit to its ambition to be an international explorer.

We hear India's monopoly gas transmission utility now wants to bid for two exploration blocks in Bangladesh. A three-member GAIL team led by business development manager Rajeev Khanna was in Bangladesh from 28th February to 3rd March and visited the gas-rich coastal district of Chittagong, which borders Tripura.

We learn GAIL will bid for two of three exploration blocks that Bangladesh plans to auction. "Chittagong is a gas-prone area and we are assessing the quantity of gas here," reveals a source.

"We expect good reserves because it borders Tripura." If successful, GAIL wants to link its Bangladesh acreage with block A-1 inMyanmar, where it signed a farm-in agreement alongside ONGC Videsh on 28th January. On gas exports,the GAIL team received surprisingly positive signals on the contentious issue of selling to India.

"We get the impression that the ruling party and the opposition are now in favour of exporting gas," adds a source. "They realise that unless they export gas they will never get the money to build infrastructure.

We are getting very positive signals." GAIL is also preparing to lay gas pipelines within Bangladesh - its first big opportunity there. "We have told them we will bid for the pipeline projects.

Our prices will be very competitive." GAIL has an alliance with Larsen & Toubro and Engineers India for work in Bangladesh.

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