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Magurchhara Blowout- Dhaka to go to int'l court for compensation

From The Daily Star, Bangladesh
February 16, 2005
link to this article.

Bangladesh will go to the international court seeking compensation for the damage caused by fire in the Magurchhara gas field.
The 1997 fire damaged gas worth Tk 3,900 crore, State Minister for Energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain said in parliament yesterday, replying to a question by a Jamaat lawmaker.

Unocal had given Tk 38 crore only as compensation to the government in 1997, the minister informed the House. Under a deal signed with the government in 1998, Unocal is supposed to give the government five percent additional quantum of gas the company would extract, he said, adding that the company was, however, claiming that it had already compensated the loss as per the 1998 deal with the government.

"Under this situation, the government has initiated necessary process to go to the international court for realising the compensation," the minister said. Responding to another question from Jatiya Party lawmaker GM Qader, the minister admitted the shortage of gas supply, saying that setting up of new industries and increased use of gas as well as wastage are responsible for it.

He said a well in Sangu gas field was closed and as a result, the government is receiving 112 mmcf of gas instead of 200 mmcf. Besides, a well in Moulvibazar gas field, which was supposed to supply gas to the national grid, failed to do so because of last year's floods that damaged 78-km of gas pipeline.

The minister, however, said the shortage would not continue for long. With the availability of gas from Moulvibazar field from March and another gas field in Feni, there will not be any shortage from April 2005 to 2010, he said, adding that rather, there would be surplus of gas during the period.

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