Int'l disputes court to hear BD's claim from Nov 2
Published :Friday, 24 July, 2015, Time : 12:00 AM View Count : 27
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in London is set to start hearing on Bangladesh's compensation claim over two gas blowouts in Tengratila field on November 2-5 this year. The state-owned Petrobangla claimed a Tk 147 crore compensation from the NIKO Resources. However, this Canadian company, the operator of Tengratila gas field, argued that Bangladesh's claim is overstated, energy ministry officials told the Daily Observer. As per the ICSID decision, international blowout experts have assessed the liabilities of Niko Resources in the two gas blowouts in Tengratila with the help of local experts. "The ICSID wanted to know our opinion about the engagement of experts and we agreed, but with a note that it would not affect the money suit," said a senior official at the Energy Ministry. Niko Resources was given contract to explore gas at Tengratila in Sunamganj district under Sylhet division. However, following the blowout the energy ministry and Petrobangla had formed three committees to assess the value of the damage in the blowout. Sources said the tribunal held a meeting with Niko and representatives from Bangladesh on October 16, 2014 to settle the payment of gas bills for sale from the Feni field to Niko Resources. Unfortunately, it failed to reach any conclusion, as Niko is contesting its liabilities for the two gas blowouts. Petrobangla claimed Tk 147 crore for the two blowouts from Niko Resources in a Bangladesh court in 2013. Niko Resources also owes US$ 25 million as gas bills from Feni gas field. The Bangladesh High Court in November 2009 directed the government not to pay Niko bills for the gas that Petrobangla had been purchasing from the Feni field since 2004, until the government's case was disposed of, or until Niko and the government reached a settlement on the compensation issue. In April 2010, Niko Resources filed two separate cases against Bangladesh with the ICSID, contesting its liabilities in the Tengratila gas explosions. It also filed another arbitration suit challenging the Bangladesh court's decision to withhold payment on gas produced from the Feni gas field until the claim for damages to Tengratila was settled. The ICSID started the hearing on the payment of gas bills for sale of gas from the Feni field in April last year. The payments of these gas bills were withheld following an order by the Bangladesh High Court.