(EnergyAsia, Feb 25) — Bangladesh has threatened to sue US energy company Unocal for additional compensation over a 1997 fire in the Magurchhara gas field in eastern Moulvibazar district. The government said Unocal has paid only 380 million taka in compensation which State Minister for Energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain claimed caused damages worth 39 billion taka. (US$1=63).


He told Parliament that Bangladesh will file the suit through the International Court of Justice, according to the Khaleej Times.


Under a deal signed with the government in 1998, Mr Hossain said Unocal had agreed to pay an additional five per cent in the volume of gas the company would extract. Unocal has countered that it had already compensated the loss.


Separately, Bangladesh is preparing its case to claim compensation for the loss of one billion cubic feet of gas, valued at approximately 100 million taka, that was burned away after an explosion in Sunamganj district on January 8.


A high-powered probe committee, formed by the seven-member government, submitted a report observing that the loss caused by the fire will have a lasting negative impact on the country’s total gas reserves.


Ehsan W Fattah, the chairman of the committee, submitted the report to the state minister for energy and mineral resources, A KM Mosharraf Hossain. The minister declined to disclose the contents of the report, but sources told the Khaleej Times the committee blames the Canadian company Niko for the accident that caused huge flames to burn for several days in Tengratila.


The report also blamed Bapex, the public sector gas exploration company, for negligence.