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Bangladesh has so far failed to explore offshore hydrocarbon potentials. It is not that the government did not take any initiative, but what it had taken was apparently not enough to attract the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to work in the Bangladesh territories of the Bay of Bengal. Hardly a few IOCs responded to bids earlier invited by the government. Of the IOCs, ConocoPhillips signed PSC, carried out seismic surveys, and got some indications of lead and prospects, yet it left Bangladesh failing to convince Petrobangla to revise gas prices up from the prices offered in the PSC. Posco-Daewoo also left Bangladesh failing to arrange investment funds. Only Indian Company ONGC is working in two shallow blocks. Meanwhile, the government revised the PSC a few times but again failed to attract the IOCs. Experts say the lack of appropriate incentives and inappropriate gas pricing formulas were the reasons. Of late, the government appointed a consultant to suggest how the country could attract the IOCs. The firm recently recommended following a crude oil-linked pricing mechanism. Few experts consider it risky, but most favor such a move as a better alternative amid the present energy crisis. The policymakers were in a dilemma over the suggested pricing formula.
While Bangladesh badly needs the energy to keep running its growth engine, it is equally important not to take any decision in this regard without examining its pros and cons. A misstep could result in devastating consequences.