Bangladesh to add offshore gas blocks after dispute with Burma ends

Saleem Samad – AHN News Correspondent (March 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) – Bangladesh wants to add two new offshore oil and gas exploration blocks to the country’s map in the eastern Bay of Bengal. A top official says Dhaka will mapping the block after the United Nations ends a territorial dispute with Burma, also known as Myanmar.

The dispute’s resolution under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on March, 14 may also clear Burma’s claims over six existing blocks. The tribunal based in Hamburg, Germany, upheld Bangladesh’s claim to an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles in the Bay of Bengal, and to a substantial share of the outer continental shelf beyond, thus ending its maritime boundary dispute with Burma.

Bangladesh will establish a fresh demarcation of its offshore gas blocks in the Bay of Bengal, state-owned Petrobangla’s Chairman Hussain Monsur said Thursday. The government asked Petrobangla to prepare a new map with the gas blocks properly demarcated in keeping with the international ruling, Monsur added.

Days after the victory at a U.N. court on Bangladesh’s maritime boundary claims the Bangladesh Navy made its first patrol across the settled boundary.

In 2008, Bangladesh floated its offshore block bidding for oil and gas exploration and a U.S. company ConocoPhillips signed a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for two blocks — DS 10 and 11. Of these, a part of block 10 is claimed by India and a part of block 11 by Myanmar.