Occidental and Unocal announce startup of Bangladesh gas project
El Segundo, March 22, 1999 - Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Unocal Corporation and Petrobangla, the Bangladesh national oil company, today announced the start of natural gas production from the Jalalabad gas field in Bangladesh.
Located on Block 13 in the northeastern province of Sylhet, the Jalalabad field is expected to supply a significant percentage of the country's natural gas needs and build a solid energy foundation to support Bangladesh's future growth.
The Jalalabad field is being developed and operated by Occidental of Bangladesh Ltd., in partnership with Unocal Bangladesh, Ltd., under a production-sharing contract with Petrobangla. Initial natural gas deliveries to Petrobangla for domestic use commenced on Feb. 6, 1999. The field's current production of 100 million cubic feet of natural gas per day supplies approximately 12 percent of the country's gas demand. In addition, the field produces 2,000 barrels of condensate per day, doubling Bangladesh's output of natural gas liquids.
The field was inaugurated at a ceremony attended by Bangladesh's Prime Minister, the Honorable Sheikh Hasina, and officials from Petrobangla, Occidental and Unocal.
Development of the field, which contains an estimated 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas in place, began in early 1998. The Jalalabad facilities include four producing wells and a state-of-the-art natural gas plant that features the most advanced processing and safety technology.
Dr. Ray Irani, chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, said, "The start up of the Jalalabad field is an important milestone for foreign investment in the energy sector of Bangladesh. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the national oil company, Petrobangla, whose support has been instrumental in the successful design and implementation of this project. The performance of the field is exceeding expectations, and the processing plant can be expanded at minimal cost to help meet increasing demand."
Roger C. Beach, Unocal Corporation's chairman and chief executive officer, added, "Production from Jalalabad begins what we hope will be a long-term partnership with Petrobangla and the people of Bangladesh. Today marks not only delivery of needed new domestic gas supplies, but also signifies and confirms the important role Bangladesh plays in the regional energy scenario - one that will no doubt grow as new discoveries are brought into production."
The inauguration of the Jalalabad project comes on the heels of the Occidental-Unocal discovery last year of an estimated 4-5 trillion cubic feet of gas-in-place in the 2.2 million-acre Block 12. The Bibiyana-1 test well flowed at a combined daily rate of nearly 175 million cubic feet of natural gas and 950 barrels of condensate from six tests covering 605 feet of perforations between 9,370 feet and 11,350 feet in the Bhuban and the Boka Bil formations. These tests confirmed production zones that, up to present, have not been productive in Bangladesh.
Occidental signed two production-sharing contracts with Petrobangla for the contiguous Blocks 12, 13 and 14 in 1995, and since then has conducted a 2,335-kilometer seismic program in the 3.4-million acre area, which is the country's main hydrocarbon province. The Jalalabad field is the first development from the blocks to be brought on-stream. Occidental is operator of all three blocks through a 50-50 joint venture with Unocal.
During 1999, the two companies will continue to appraise the Bibiyana discovery, complete a four-well exploration program, and identify additional markets for the gas being discovered.
Forward-looking statements regarding production levels, exploration programs, and resource potential in this news release are based on assumptions concerning market, competitive, regulatory, environmental, operational and other considerations. Actual results could differ materially as a result of factors discussed in Unocal's 1998 Form 10-K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Updated: March 1999