|Photo: Ashraful Alom Tito/UNBconnect: Activists protest against gas exploration deal|
A CRUCIAL pact between the Bangladesh government and U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips for deep sea gas exploration has sparked a dispute in the country as activists and allies announced a strike to protest the deal.
The radical activist group the National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, with allies of the left-leaning parties, has dubbed the deal as controversial and against the national interest.
The strike call came as the main opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, demanded publication of the full text of the agreement so the deal could be studied.
According to the PSC, ConocoPhillips will get 80 to 85 percent of the lifted gas at the cost-recovery stage. The Texas-based company will ensure a bank guarantee of $160 million in the nine-year deal, with a condition to operate surveys and exploration.
Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org