The Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague, dealing with the Bay of Bengal Maritime boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India awarded19,467 sq-km maritime area to Bangladesh out of disputed 25,602 sq-km area. The Tribunal, however, retained India’s sovereign right over the disputed South Talpatty area, which was claimed by Bangladesh since 1880. But Talpatty was never shown as Bangladesh are a in the national political map. The Talpatty Island exists on more.The Tribunal sustained Bangladesh claim of equitable solution to a full 200 nautical mile (NM) exclusive economic zone in the Bay of Bengal and to substantial share of the extended continental shelf beyond 200 NM. The five-member tribunal agreed with Bangladesh that the “equidistance” method proposed for dividing the disputed water between the two neighboring states was not equitable to Bangladesh. India favoured the “equidistance” method against Bangladesh claim of equitable method. The Tribunal, however, could not decide around 50 sq-mile area where Bangladesh continental shelf area begins and kept it as “grey area”. In the “grey area” India would have enjoy the fishing right and Bangladesh would enjoy the right over the mineral resources. The spokesperson for the Indian external affairs ministry ahs said that India respects the verdict of the International Tribunal . The verdict of the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the delimitation of maritime boundary between Bangladesh and India, is a victory for both States; it’s the victory of friendship and a win-win situation for the peoples of Bangladesh and India because it has been finally resolved peacefully. The judgment was a step forward for Bangladesh as well as for India and the award enabled both sides to move forward confidently into a new future and to build a new era of understanding and cooperation in the maritime sector. Bangladesh’s full access to high seas out to 200 NM and beyond is now guaranteed as are Bangladesh’s undisputed rights to fishing in waters and the natural resources beneath seabed. The previous victory for Bangladesh came on 14 March 2012 when the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Homburg delivered the judgment in the maritime boundary case with Myanmar. Bangladesh now hopes to invite international bidding this year to explore for gas in the maritime areas it gained after resolution of dispute with India. Bangladesh will try to conduct exploration through its own resources in some shallow water blocks. The deep water blocks may be placed for the international bidding .With the newly acquired sea area , our sea resources have increased and the sea resources potential has to be exploited . For this we have to develop our skilled manpower for exploration of oil and other natural resources as well as fishing on the high seas. Offshore block bidding with International Companies who will explore for oil and also exploration for offshore blocks by Bangladesh will need trained manpower which has to be developed. We look forward to a prosperous era for Bangladesh and a peaceful exploitation of our sea resources in a friendly atmosphere with India.
The Production Sharing Contracts (PSC’s) of the Blocks SS-04 and SS-09 were signed by Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation (PETROBANGLA), consortium ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) & OIL India Limited (OIL) and Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX) on 17 February, 2014. OVL will act as the Operator of these two Blocks with Participating Interest of 45%, OIL holds 45% PI and BAPEX 10%.
The Block SS-04 covers an area of 7,269 sq. km with water depths ranging from 20-200 m and the Block SS-09 covers an area of 7,026 sq. km with water depths ranging from 20-200 m. The exploration term for the both blocks consists of 8 (eight) consecutive contract years comprising 5 (five) years as Initial Exploration Period and 3 (three) years as Subsequent Exploration Period. As per PSC, ONGC Videsh Limited will conduct 2700 Full Fold LKM 2D Seismic Data Acquisition and Processing & 1 exploratory well in Block SS-04 and 2700 LKM 2D Seismic Data Acquisition and Processing & 2 exploratory wells in Block SS-09. Now Exploration Phase I is in progress for both Blocks.
As of end of March 2016, ONGC Videsh Limited conducted total 3008.130 Full Fold LKM 2D Seismic Data Acquisition for the both Blocks SS-04 and SS-09. The rest of the seismic volume will be 2D OBC Survey & Land Seismic Survey and will be conducted within Initial Exploration Period.
মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা
ড. তৌফিক-ই-ইলাহী চৌধুরী, বীর বিক্রম
ড. মোঃ খায়েরুজ্জামান মজুমদার