Setting cross-border pipeline BD turns to be Indian fuel market
Zahid Hossain Biplob: According to a top ranking official of the Energy Ministry, the government is planning to import 200mmcfd of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from India through cross-border gas pipeline by 2021.
The two countries will bear the cost of gas pipeline installation on their respective sides and the supply line will enter Bangladesh through Satkhira border.
Bangladesh has already discussed the financing issue with Asian Development Bank (ABD) for installation of the gas pipeline, said the sources.
A high-powered team is likely to visit India soon to discuss the import of LNG through pipelines, another official said.
Experts have underscored the need for availing low cost LNG import from India to meet the growing demand of energy in the country. Bangladesh has started operations at the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar on October last year.
Like Bangladesh, India is also an import oriented country to meet their growing demand of the domestic market which indicated that Bangladesh is the third party purchaser.
Energy experts besides have raised the question would Bangladesh able to receive lower price compared with Qatar? Already, an Italian company proposed to provide lower price LNG than Qatar. It is true that India is one of the major import destinations for Bangladesh to meet the local demand of the country, but the import price should be reasonable from existing import destinations, they recommended.
Talking to Daily Industry yesterday, Prof Dr Mohammed Tamim, energy expert and a professor of BUET told that India is a big market and imports huge quantity of LNG to meet their local demand.
“If India provides the reasonable price to import LNG, it is justified but the higher import price is not justified to consider the existing import price. As the government has decided to import LNG avoiding the renowned destinations for LNG export oriented countries, so, the price should be reasonable”, said the expert.
Md Kamruzzaman, managing director of the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) hinted that India imports LNG to their growing local demand. Bangladesh will import LNG from India’s surplus import, he said adding we will talk on the price in which we can be benefited”, he said.
The floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), which arrived in Bangladesh in April to offload its maiden cargo of LNG from Qatar and moor permanently as an import terminal, Bangladesh to import LNG to offset falling domestic gas production, feeding industrial demand and power generation.
Industry insiders said the gas reserve in the country is declining gradually for growing demand especially in expanding industrialisation.
To meet the local demand, Bangladesh will think to go alternative channel to meet the growing demand of the country. Like, India and Pakistan– imported LNG to meet their local demand. In this connection, Bangladesh has started to import LNG from the last year.
Bangladesh is the nineteenth-largest producer of natural gas in Asia and gas supplies meet 56 percent of domestic energy demand but the country faces an acute energy crisis in meeting the demands of its vast and growing population, they said.
They said the government’s long quest for overcoming gas crisis, ridding on imports of liquefied natural gas from India through cross-border gas pipeline by 2021 can help meeting the unavoidable demand.
Considering the overall situation, the government signed the deal with Qatar to import 2.8 million tons of LNG annually for the next 15 years.
Apart from this, pushing a regional integration strategy as part of its foreign policy in the neighbourhood, India is building energy infrastructure in several south Asian countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, according to sources.
Besides, in September last, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the construction of 130-km Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur.
Bangladesh would initially receive 2.5 lakh tonnes of diesel every year and it would gradually be increased to 4 lakh tonnes. India being a deficit country and its local diesel price is higher than Bangladesh, has been exporting oil due to multifarious interest.
The first consignment of diesel from India reached Bangladesh in March 2016 through rail wagons.
Currently, imported oil is stored in Chattogram depot after unloading it from the ship at Chattogram Port. Later, the oil is brought to Khulna Daulatpur depot through coastal tanks and carried to Parbatipur again through rail wagons.