Niko is a Canadian company engaged in gas exploration in Bangladesh. Last year it developed an image problem after two gas fields had blowouts within a short space of time. This article HERE by Geoffrey York upon first reading appears like Niko’s PR campaign kicking into action. Undoubtedly sympathetic to Niko it describes the problems of investment in Bangladesh - the “headaches of dealing with balky politicians, hostile journalists, angry activists and protesting villagers.” Nevertheless it is worth a read as it exposes Niko’s perspective very nicely. The number of condescending remarks coming out of their corporate mouths is illuminating and reveal their thinking. One thing is for sure, their production superintendent - Allen Rose - I suspect needs to go on a “dealing with the media” course or some such. He declares “From an economic standpoint, these people are farther ahead because of the blowouts. It’s been devastating for Niko, but it’s been positive for the community.” Hmmm. And their environmental consultant, Randal Glaholt, also needs a refresher course. He reckons the blowouts were a trauma for “these people” becase they were “poor and uneducated.” Right!? Of course! A gas explosion is a trifling matter if you are educated and well-to-do. It was really nothing to worry about just a “fear of the unknown” for these Bangladeshi retards…

Niko complains they have had a hard time from the press and other interest groups. My own recollections of the coverage in the english and bangla press was that the response was rather muted ( I was in Dhaka for the entire period at the time). I distinctly remember remarking to a World Bank chap in Dhaka that if this had happened in the west - all hell would have been let loose upon the polluter. Niko’s points about the general investment environment given the “ferociously partisan” political climate are worth noting. They claim they have been at the losing end of this. Most would argue they got the contract because of such a set up….