This report discusses the Niko’s side of the story on the recent Tengratila gas blowout and the ordeal that followed.

Although this report does not say anything but the calgary, canada based Niko’s version on how Niko landed it’s deal , some quite interesting observations came out of this article.

…” Niko’s executives admit they failed to prepare themselves for the ferociously partisan climate of hardball politics here.

…”The atmosphere in Bangladesh is more “vindictive” than anything ..”

…”Although it is the world’s eighth-biggest country by population (with 140 million people), this impoverished country is ranked by Transparency International as the most corrupt in the world. And it is a consistent underachiever in foreign investment, attracting less than most other major Asian countries.”

…”With an election approaching in the country, Niko became a scapegoat for jousting politicians and feuding officials.”

…“It was a shock to us,” Mr. Hornaday, NIKO CEO said. “We weren’t prepared for that kind of aggressiveness — that really nasty stuff. It wasn’t something we were accustomed to, even in India. Politicians are using us to discredit the government. ..”

…”Corruption and bribery are commonplace in Bangladesh’s media outlets, and Niko’s competitors were savvy enough to cultivate the media. Local journalists say it is common to get cash or gifts from gas developers in Bangladesh, including the big multinationals. But Niko refused to distribute any envelopes of cash. “It’s not the Canadian way,” Mr. Sampson, Niko CFO said.

…” The company has flown reporters to its gas fields for a first-hand look, and it has invited a group of journalists on an all-expenses-paid trip to India and Calgary. “We want to show them that we’re not a rinky-dink operation,”

( Will this part of the news ever come out in Bangladesh media? :–Rumi )

Another interesting twist in this story comes with connection of Yale University with Niko.

This yale insider article states that

” Questioning Yale:

On March 29, 2005, Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR) held its annual meeting. The ACIR is charged with overseeing Yale’s investments.

At the meeting, members of GESO, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale, together with undergraduates and School of Forestry students asked about how Yale University, as a $50 million shareholder in Niko, planned to help fix the situation in Bangladesh.”

According to the report, On July 7, 2005, students, alumni and graduate teachers at Yale University sent a letter to Yale’s President, Richard Levin. They wrote:

“We believe that Yale has a responsibility to fix the situation. We, therefore, call on Yale to immediately send a medical team composed of doctors from the School of Medicine to ensure that the people of the region are getting the best care possible and to send an environmental team of experts from the Forestry School to assess the situation and begin the work of repairing the environmental damage. Yale should also demand that Niko pay those affected just compensation.”

As the first version of this report went into press on August 1, 2005, there had been no response from the president.