Three-nation parleys on gas project in January
Dhaka 18 November: The minister of
Energy of Bangladesh, India,
and Burma will
meet in Yangoon, the capital of Burma,
in January next year to finalise the three-nation gas
pipeline project. According to The Independent News.
Sources said, after getting the final nod from Bangladesh,
the India Government finalized the date of the meeting, which is going to be
held between 6th and 10th January 2005
“A joint meeting will be held between Bangladesh
and India for
finalizing some issues relating to the project”, a top official of the Energy
Minister yesterday said. This bilateral meeting would be held before the
proposed three-party meeting. “Before we settle the mater, Bangladesh
wants to discuss some terms and conditions with its India
counterpart”, he added.
The government has set certain conditions like import of gas
from Burma when
required for allowing the gas pipeline from Burma
to West Bengal over the Bangladesh
also suggested other conditions, including a provision for transmission of its
own gas for domestic use or for export, if required, and empowering gas
Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), a company under the responsibility for the
management of the proposed pipeline.
According to a report in the India
newspapers, The Hindu, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed
Khan discussed with the Indian leaders the issue, when he visited India
in July last. “We’re looking at the potential for larger cooperation (with India)
as our requirement is going up”, the report quoted Morshed
Khan a saying “I’ll leave it to the officials to discuss about import
Oil Minister Mani Shanker Aiyer at a meeting with the Bangladeshi foreign Minister
raised the idea of India
as a transit route to transport natural gas from Burma,
the report said. Khan said Dhaka had no objection if the
pipeline could be built on mutually beneficial terms with Bangladesh
levying a transit fee. But this could make Burma
gas expensive for India,
the report said.
Energy Minister sources said, that
the Indian government had asked the Bangladesh
counterpart to complete all homework and get ready for this crucial meeting.
The sources said, the proposed pipeline would enter the Bangladesh
border through Brahmanbaria from the Indian
territory of Tripura and will cross into
West Bengal through the Rajshahi
Mohona Holding Bangladesh
local company has requested the minister of Energy to reconsider its proposal,
first made over one and half years ago, which was rejected by the Prime
Minister’s office last year.
Mohona Holding recently again
showed interest in this year US$1 billion project. The proposal also claims to
add gas to its pipeline from India’s
Tripura region, where large-scale has production
remained uncertain for years due to insurgency.
The sources said that, the proposal was made in mid-’99
coinciding with US company Unocal’s unofficial advocacy for gas export form
Bangladesh to India and visit by the Foreign Minister of Burma to Bangladesh.
The company is now provided detailed information as to how it would organize
funds for the project, if it is finally approved by the government.
Official at the Energy Division indicated that, Bangladesh
would get about US$125 million annually, US$ 100 million as a wheeling charge
and US$ 25 million as maintenance charges from the proposed pipeline. Besides, Dhaka
would get the right of way revenue from the pipeline.
On top of that there would be an investment of US$ 150
million that would create employment opportunities for Bangladeshi. #
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