He said that getting a rig available is very costly in recent days when many energy companies are engaging in gas exploration in their desperate efforts to find oil and gas in the global energy crisis in the wake of Russia-Ukraine war.

Chevron officials said completion of drilling may take two to three months. “But finding new gas may take more than two years”, said another official of Chevron.

On 2 October, Chevron Bangladesh signed several agreements with the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and also with the state-owned Petrobangla to drill more wells at the expanded Bibiyana gas field.

The deals are Supplemental Agreement to the Block 12 Production Sharing Contract for Bibiyana Flank Area Extension, amendment of Jalalabad Gas and Condensate Purchase and Sales Agreement and Amendment of Moulvibazar Condensate Purchase and Sales Agreement for Blocks 13 and 14.

Energy and Mineral Resources Division deputy secretary Morsheda Ferdous, Petrobangla secretary (senior general manager) Ruchira Islam, and Chevron, Bangladesh president Eric M Walker signed the agreements.

At the function Petrobangla chairman Nazmul Ahsan said the main objective of Chevron's Bibiyana Flank Area Extension is to drill new wells there.

So far, Chevron has dug 26 wells at the Bibiyana gas field. It will begin drilling the BY-27 development well in 2023 in the extended area, he said.

The multinational energy corporation also plans to drill the BY-28 infield well later, Nazmul said, adding that a significant amount of gas is expected to flow from the field.

Chevron is now producing around 1481.3 million cubic feet of gas per day from three gas fields – Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulvibazar – about 60 per cent of the country's total gas production. It has also been producing more than 80 per cent of the total condensate production.

The government approved Chevron's proposal to allow it to add a 60-square-kilometre "flank" area outside its existing contract zone in the north of the Bibiyana gas field.

The approval came last month when the US oil giant celebrated its 25 years of operations in Bangladesh.

The newly extended area will be drilled under the same production-sharing contract (PSC) now applicable for the three gas fields, said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division officials.