[b]May 19 (Reuters) - Bangladesh has struck its first oil, in two gas fields in the northeastern Sylhet region, the chairman of the state-run Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) said on Sunday.
"This is first time that we have found economically viable oil resources, estimated at about 153 million barrels, in the two gas fields, 280 km (175 miles) from the capital," Mohammad Hussain Monsur told reporters, adding that production could begin within a year.
"Today is a very significant day for Bangladesh," he said.
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX), the exploration arm of Petrobangla, confirmed the oil find and BAPEX's managing director, Mortuza Ahmed Faruque, said the oil found was light, low sulphur quality.
Monsur also said exploration drilling will now be undertaken to see if other gas fields in the country hold similar or larger oil reserves.
BAPEX conducted 3D seismic surveys in those fields having 190 square kilometers areas each recently to delineate the energy resources there for future exploration as no comprehensive surveys were conducted there before. (Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Greg Mahlich)