Petrobangla signed a production-sharing contract (PSC) to explore oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal with Santos-Kris Energy; an Australia-Singapore joint venture on Wednesday. The joint venture obtained leasing rights to carry out drilling on about 4,475 square kilometres areas in gas block 11 in the Bay of Bengal. Senior officials of Energy Division, Petrobangla, Santos, Kris Energy and BAPEX signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides. Finance Minister AMA Muhith was present as the chief guest. Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury was also present. Petrobangla first invited tender in December 2012 and received offer in April 2013 from two International Oil Companies (IOC) only for three blocks. At that time, a total of nine blocks were placed for bidding. In that bidding, the US-based ConocoPhillips and the Indian ONGC won three offshore shallow blocks. ConocoPhillips won the bid for block 7 while the Indian ONGC’s offers were for blocks 4 and 9 in the Bay of Bengal. All three blocks are located in an area where there is no dispute with neighbouring India or Myanmar. The ONGC last month signed its contract for two blocks. Santos-Kris Energy won block 11 by participating in a re-tender bid in July last year as a lone bidder. Santos-Kris has offered a work programme for 870 km 2D mandatory seismic survey and 300 km mandatory 3D survey. It has given a US$ 15 million bank guarantee. Santos will get eight years for exploration works of which five years for initial exploration and remaining three years for subsequent exploration if the initial exploration finds potential, reserves. The Australia-Singapore joint venture will conduct its work in 4,475 sq km areas with water depth of 100-1000 in the offshore. Under the contract, Petrobangla will get minimum 55 to maximum 80 percent as profit share from the project. The contractor can sell its gas to any third party if and when Petrobangla refuses to buy its gas. The petroleum price will be set on the basis of HSFO Singapore floor price at $100, and celling price at $200. In that case, the price of each unit gas will be $5.5 (1000 cubic feet). The contractor will have to pay corporate tax and other taxes while it can claim compensation if petroleum operation is suspended for any dispute. Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister said, the government is giving highest importance to the development of the energy sector, as it has been the key to any development of the civilization. He said, the government would continue its efforts to achieve energy security. Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid, Energy Secretary Mozammel Haque Khan and Singapore Consul General in Dhaka Darrya Lau also spoke on the occasion.