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Dhaka open to talks on tri-nation gas pipeline: Energy Adviser

From The Independent/Narinjara News, Bangladesh
July 27, 2005
link to this article.

Adviser to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division Mahmudur Rahman yesterday said the government is open to negotiate we installation of the tri-nation gas pipeline through Bangladesh from Myanmar to India if the Indian government so desires.

"We are open to negotiate and obviously our position is to secure maximum advantage from it like the other patties seeking to maximise benefits," he said while speaking at the opening of a meeting of energy journalists of the seven south Asian countries now gathered in the city.

South Asia Forum for Energy Journalists (SAFEJ), an umbrella organization of energy journalists of the seven countries is organizing the event at Sheraton Hotel jointly with the USAID run South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI-E). At least 50 energy reporters are taking part in the three-day event from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the host Bangladesh. Pakistan and Afghanistan are taking part in the meeting for the first time since the launching of the forum two years ago. State minister for power Iqbal Hassan Mahmud attended the opening function as the chief guest. Energy adviser at the US embassy Bruce McMullen, John Hammond of the US Energy Association and Dave Ernsberger, editorial director for Asia Platts also spoke on the occasion. Mahmudur Rahman 5aid the present century is for the Asia Pacific nations to score the highest level of development and much of it, however, depends on easy access to energy resources. Referring to the SARI spirit, he said, "We can grow together and for that we must make collective move to exploit and use the energy resources." On the India-Myanmar gas line, he said there is also another move to bring gas from Iran to India by pipeline through Pakistan. Even a Chinese company is bidding for buying the American oil giant Unocal which was unbelievable only the other day.

A power hungry region can take any unpredictable move, Rahman said, adding Bangladesh is open to negotiate the Myanmar-India gas pipeline project. Referring to a meeting of the energy ministers of India and Myanmar recently in Delhi keeping Bangladesh out of it, he said Dhaka has welcomed it.

"This is business and all three countries will try to maximise their profits, this is natural," he said. Mr Rahman said, the outcome of the Dellu meeting is still in the dark. If they can take (Myanmar) gas-bypassing Bangladesh by way of LNG, CNG or deep-sea pipeline, it is their choice. "But if they want Bangladesh's participation we are open to negotiation," he said, adding in such case we will try to take maximum benefits from it like the other parties trying it. State Minister for Power Iqbal Hassan Mahmud said, the region has a huge potential of generating over 100,000 MW electricity from hydal sources in Nepal and Bhutan, in addition to gas, coal, wind and other bio-mass sources in the region.

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