The Royal Dutch/Shell Group has suspended production for an indefinite period from one of four producing wells in Bangladesh's lone offshore Sangu gas field due to technical problems.

The Sangu gas field is located in the Bay of Bengal nearly 40 km southwest of Chittagong.

"We do not see any quick solution to the problem," Mohammed Aziz Khan, general manager of the country's Oil, Gas and Mineral Corp (Petro-bangla) told Reuters yesterday, adding that the problem has started for "a couple of days".

"The sands and waters are coming out from the well and it is risky to produce gas from the well," Khan said.

Shell produced 25 million cubic feet (mcf) (707,900 cubic metres) of gas per day from the affected well. Total production from the four wells is between 150 and 170 mcf per day, but they could go up to 200 mcf after perforation works.

Before the problems began, the four wells were producing nearly 170 mcf. Last year, Shell completed its perforation works at $8.0 million.

"We have to reduce production from the well after the problem," Ruba Rahman, the external manager of Shell told Reuters. "But we are trying to recover it quickly," she said.

Petrobangla officials said current demand for gas was 1,300 mcf per day. But they can supply only 1,262 mcf per day. Bangladesh has 20.5 trillion cubic feet of proven and recoverable gas reserve based on current estimates, officials said.