Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TOTAL 'gasfusion' over gas findings in Bay of Bengal?

The word 'gasfusion' is coined by me. It is in fact replacing the word confusion. Let me explain why am I doing so.

bdnews24 informed us today TOTAL, France's top oil company, has failed to find oil or gas in the two offshore blocks it explored last year. "Total has told us there's no commercially recoverable gas in the Blocks 17 and 18," Petrobangla chairman Jalal Ahmed told bdnews24.com Monday. A report on the findings was handed to Petrobangla officials Monday.

A straight-jacket news, so why there is confusion, or to say gasfusion? Let me explain.

When the whole nation was stuck in BDR tragedy that was unfolding from 25th February, a Reuters dispatch from Dhaka on same day said TOTAL had discovered natural gas in two blocks which also covered an island in the sea in the Bay of Bengal.

I put that Reuters story on my blog on 25th February evening. Quoting Muqtadir Ali, a director at the state-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation or Petrobangla, the Reuters report said 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.

I thought Bangladesh media simply missed the story because of sheer magnitude of Pilkhana tragedy.

What has happened in between these two weeks that TOTAL is now saying it didn't find gas or oil in that two blocks: 17 and 18, which are close to Myanmar's gas blocks where it had discovered around 6.0 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas?

And to create gasfusion further, US oil giant Chevron has secured the official permission to explore gas and oil in another block, 7, encompassing Barisal , Patuakhali, Jhalakathi and Pirojpur districts.

Fine, but is there any link to TOTAL's total about turn and Chevron's recent official permission?

And two quick observations: I didn't see Dhaka Reuters withdrawing its story on 25th February. Nor did I find any rejoinder from TOTAL SA that Reuters story was wrong.

Now I'm smelling some rat here.

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