Upbeat officials at Bangladesh’s national oil company Petrobangla still hope the long awaited and much delayed non-exclusive multi-client offshore 2D seismic survey could start later this year, despite the challenging backdrop of the coronavirus and the latest oil price crash.

The Norwegian-US joint venture TGS-Schlumberger joint venture last week signed the final agreement for this major 2D shoot, which will be performed over acreage intended for inclusion in Bangladesh’s next international licensing round.

Although TGS employees did not fly into Bangladesh because of concerns over the spread of Covid-19, the signed documents were couriered via express mail to Dhaka where officials from Schlumberger and Petrobangla inked their approval.

A senior Petrobangla official told the Financial Express that the contractor is now hoping to get this marine seismic survey under way in September, after this year’s monsoon season.

Water depths at the area in the Bay of Bengal to be covered range from 20 to 2500 metres.

Bangladesh’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in April 2019 gave in-principle approval for the award to TGS-Schlumberger for the seismic survey.

TGS-Schlumberger will carry out the seismic acquisition at its own cost and share the data for free with state-owned Petrobangla whilst the data will be available for sale to prospective explorers.

Some Bangladesh government officials have blamed the lack of seismic data for the lack of significant international interest in its exploration sector.

The Dhaka administration for years has touted a licensing round comprising as many as 18 offshore blocks as it seeks for new gas discoveries to meet burgeoning domestic demand.

The lacklustre exploration scene and no new major discoveries of late has led energy-hungry Bangladesh to increasingly rely on costly liquefied natural gas imports.