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Conditions Set for Tri-nation Gas Pipeline Project

From Energy and Power
January 2004
link to this article.

The government has put some conditions in allowing construction of a gas pipeline from Myanmar to West Bengal through Bangladesh territory. Official sources said that the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) has prepared a draft for the proposed Myanmar-Tripura-Bangladesh-West Bengal gas pipeline project,The EMRD draft set certain stipulations like importing gas from Myanmar, when required, and keeping provision for transmission of Bangladesh's gas domestically or for export through the pipeline network for the trans-border project, they added.

It also laid stress on empowering Gas Transmission Company Limited (GTCL), a company under state-run oil-gas corporation -- Petrobangla, for overall management of the proposed pipeline. Besides, the government will decide on its diameter. The EMRD also advised to ensure that as little as possible land is acquired for the pipeline, which is proposed to run along highways.

The project came into limelight after the Congress-led government in India showed keen interest in this regard during Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan's recent visit to New Delhi.

During his trip, Morshed told Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar that Dhaka is not reluctant to the idea of constructing Myanmar-India gas pipeline through Bangladesh's territory if it is done on 'mutually acceptable terms'.
India has been considering build the cross-border pipeline to pump gas from A-1 Myanmar offshore field in which Indian oil company ONGC-Videsh and Gail own a 30 percent stake, sources said.

Mohona Holdings, a Bangladeshi company, has proposed to build the proposed pipeline. Earlier, sources said that the Bangladesh government had turned down Mohona's proposal for the pipeline.

Energy division officials hinted that Bangladesh would earn about US$ 125 million annually -- US$ 100 million as wheeling charges and US$ 25 million as maintenance charges -- from the proposed project.

Dhaka will also receive right of way revenue from the planned pipeline. A US$ 150 million investment for the project will create employment opportunity for Bangladeshis, they added.

State Minister for Energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain told the Energy & Power that experts have examined the particulars of the cross-country project and the EMRD proposal will be sent to the PM soon for consideration by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.


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