Bangladesh has planned to float an international bid shortly as part of a desperate campaign to tap hydrocarbon and aquatic resources in the sea after the energy-starved country won its second crucial claim over the maritime boundary earlier this week.
"Our greatest challenge is to ensure immediate availability of gas . . . we want to get it in soonest possible time," State Minister for Energy Nasrul Hamid Bipu told BSS yesterday.
Under the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) verdict on July 8, Bangladesh got all the 10 offshore blocks, which were simultaneously being claimed also by India, halting the exploration process in the disputed area.
The state-run Petrobangla convenes a high-level meeting next week to review the expanded scope created under PCA verdict against the backdrop of dwindling reserves and growing demands for gas, said Bipu.
The PCA verdict earned Bangladesh 19,467 square kilometres out of disputed 25,602-square-kilometre areas of overlapping claims with neighbouring India in the Bay of Bengal.
It came two years after the country won a nearly identical maritime dispute with Myanmar at the German-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which awarded Bangladesh an area of 70,000 square kilometers against a demand for 80,000 square kilometres.
The country at that time, however, lost claims over five out of seven blocks of overlapping claims with Myanmar as the ITLOS delivered its decision forcing Bangladesh to redraw the map for its offshore blocks reducing the total number of blocks to 23 from 28.
A Petrobangla spokesperson told the news agency that Bangladesh could now expect to draw more response from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) as the maritime boundary disputes with both the neighbours had been settled.