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BIMSTEC nations plan trans-regional gas pipeline

From The Indian Express
October 4, 2005
link to this article.

The seven-nation group, part of the BIMSTEC initiative, on Tuesday arrived at a consensus on six energy cooperation issues that includes setting up of a trans-regional power transmission network. Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) members also decided to work on the feasibility of a trans-regional gas pipeline.

At the first energy ministers' meet of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand held in the capital on Tuesday, an action plan for energy cooperation was drawn out. The plan covers: a BIMESTEC trans-power exchange and development project, trans BIMSTEC gas pipeline(s), tapping the hydro potential in the region, exploring non-conventional sources of energy as well as building on energy security for the region and energy efficiency.

Among the six areas, the most concrete decision taken is on the power transmission network. The proposed network would run from Thailand to Sri Lanka; a task force led by Thailand would work out the draft memorandum of understanding for the inter-country grid connections. The task force, which is to submit its report within a year, would also incorporate crucial factors such as electricity flow between the member nations in a non-discriminatory manner.

On the gas pipeline, the members decided that a separate task force would be set up to first work out the reference terms and recommend the course of action after taking into account the work done on such a pipeline so far.

Thailand would host a meeting to study the petroleum reserves in the region.

On the other areas of energy cooperation, the member countries plan to share their individual experiences in developing hydel projects. For this, a workshop would be held.

In non-conventional energy sources, though there was no concrete outline on the way forward, it was decided that the members would focus on small hydel projects, solar energy and power generation from rice husk, as areas where they could cooperate.

On energy efficiency, India would be the lead country, whereby with inputs from other countries, standards and labelling would be outlined.

Finally on energy security, member countries would draw upon individual experiences on rural electrification as well as on efficient development of coal resources.

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