Petrobangla accuses Hossain of pro-India tilt

Vol 5, PW 21 (05 Dec 01) People & Policy

A storm is brewing under the nose of Bangladesh energy minister A.

K.M Mosharaff Hossain but he seems blissfully unaware.

Top officials at Petrobangla are accusing Hossain of "trying to push through" gas exports to India. A senior Petrobangla official who asked not to be named tells PETROWATCH that Hossain has asked for a detailed report on the country's gas reserves and possible export terms.

So what "This is the domain of the 'Expert Committee'," he said. "And it hasn't been set up yet!" Fears are growing at Petrobangla that Hossain is trying to "upstage" the 'Expert Committee'.

Suspicion is also rife that the minister is orchestrating a report that the 'Expert Committee' will be "forced to endorse". Most of its members will be made up of people who support him.

Our anonymous official is particularly upset at Hossain telling journalists that Bangladesh's recoverable gas reserves are "at least three to four times more than what is known." He is also unamused that Hossain assured Indias oil secretary Vijayendra Kaul at an Asian Development Bank conference in Dhaka on 14th November that a decision will be taken within two months and that a "high powered team" will soon be sent to New Delhi for talks on the issue. "We hate the way he (Hossain) is trying to push through the gas deal with India," said our source.

"He is giving us no time to assess our reserves or to work out the best possible conditions on how we can sell our gas if we have to."

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