According to Dhaka Reuters, French oil firm Total SA has discovered natural gas in an offshore field about 420 kilometres (263 miles) southeast from Dhaka, a Bangladesh official said on Wednesday.
"We have had confirmation from the firm about the presence of natural gas in two blocks which also covered an island in the sea," said Mohammad Muqtadir Ali, a director at the state-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation or Petrobangla.
"It is a great relief for us as the country at present is facing up to 250 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas shortages a day," Muqtadir told Reuters.
The firm said that both oil and gas might be there and was satisfied with the data they acquired through seismic survey, the official said.
The European oil giant Total spent nearly $20 million to conduct the three dimensional survey in those structures in the sea near the Myanmar border covering 18,367 square kilometres.
"If the acquired data matches the commercial viability, it will be one of the biggest natural gas discoveries (in the region) and if everything goes smoothly then production will be started by early 2012," Muqtadir said.
Total, the operator of these two blocks holds a 30 percent share while Irish oil company Tullow owns 32 percent shares followed by Thai energy firm PTTEP with 30 percent. US companies Oakland and Rexwood hold the remaining shares.
Blocks 17 and 18 are close to Myanmar's gas blocks where that country discovered around 6.0 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.