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Hasina, Modi inaugurate cross-border pipeline

Both optimistic energy pipeline to help expand BD economy

March 19, 2023 00:00:00

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi inaugurated the 'Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline' virtually on Saturday. — PID

A 131.57-kilometre cross-border 'Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline' was inaugurated on Saturday as part of cooperation in the energy sector between the two neighbouring countries, through which Bangladesh will import petroleum products, especially diesel, from India, reports UNB.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi formally inaugurated the newly-built pipeline.

Hasina was connected from her official residence Ganabhaban while Modi was connected from his office in New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the inauguration of "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" is a milestone achievement in mutual cooperation for the development of the two friendly neighbours.

"I believe that the friendship pipeline is a milestone achievement in cooperation for the development between the two friendly countries," she said.

After opening the pipeline, both the premiers hoped that it would play an effective role in expediting Bangladesh's economy. They also stressed the need for enhancing connectivity between the two countries for mutual benefits.

Sheikh Hasina hoped that Bangladesh and India would jointly celebrate many such successes in the days to come.

"We will work together on the international stage... we will work together for the development of the peoples of our two friendly countries," she said.

The Prime Minister hoped that Bangladesh-India relations would remain intact and be further strengthened in future.

Sheikh Hasina said, "The pipeline will play a significant role in protecting the energy security of our people and quicken the country's development."

Of the pipeline, 126.57 kilometres are in Bangladesh while the remaining five kilometres have been installed in India.

The BPC, the state agency under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, has been implementing the project under a 15-year deal with India to annually import 250,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes of diesel from the neighbouring country through the cross-border pipeline.

The deal was signed in 2017 following the approval of the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee on August 23.

Bangladesh annually needs to import 6.6 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes of diesel to meet its demand.

According to official documents, the whole consignment of petroleum will come through the cross-border pipeline from India's Numaligarh refinery, located in Golaghat in north-eastern Indian state of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive it at the Parbatipur petroleum fuel depot in the north-western district of Dinajpur.

Official sources said though most part of the proposed pipeline was laid in Bangladesh's part, the Indian government provided about Rs 3.03 billion (303 crore) as a loan under an Indian line of credit (LOC) to build the portion in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh will operate the pipeline in its part while India will operate the part in its territory.

The documents also reveal that Bangladesh will annually import 250,000 tonnes in the first three years, 300,000 tonnes annually in the 4th-6th years, 350,000 tonnes annually in the 7th-10th years and 400,000 tonnes annually in the 11th-15th years.

Currently, Bangladesh has been importing 22,000 tonnes of diesel per month using railway wagons.

The deal could be extended for a further period of time.

Such petroleum imports from India through cross-border pipelines will help create a stock of petroleum in the northern region to meet the growing demand in that part of the country.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said that the operation of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline would put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of fuel transport from India to Bangladesh.

It will further enhance cooperation in energy security between the two countries.

This is the first cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh, built at an estimated cost of Rs 3.77 billion (377 crore). Of the amount, the cost of Bangladesh's portion of the pipeline was approximately Rs 2.85 billion (285 crore) and it was borne by the government of India under grant assistance.

The Pipeline has a capacity to transport 1.0 million tonnes per annum of High-Speed Diesel (HSD).

It will supply HSD initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.

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