New Delhi: Bangladesh and India are going to script another golden chapter in their bilateral ties through the launch of operation of India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFP) for diesel supply on March 17, the birthday of Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina are scheduled to inaugurate the operation of the IBFP jointly through videoconferencing, a highly-placed diplomatic source told this correspondent.
During the visit, he may meet his counterpart Dr S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to finalise the grand programmes of the pipeline inauguration.
According to the sources, Bangladesh will initially receive 0.005 percent sulphur gasoil (basic ingredient for diesel) from India via the maiden oil pipeline connecting the two countries.
Construction of the pipeline which began in early 2020 has already been completed and the facility now waits to be commissioned to carry gasoil from India.
The pipeline stretches 125 kms through Bangladesh and 5 kms through India passing through Panchagarh, Niphamari and Dinajpur to the Parbatipur oil storage facility in Bangladesh. The cost of building the pipeline is around 350 crore India rupees.
At present, Bangladesh imports around 2,000 tonnes of 0.005 percent gasoil per month from India's Numaligargh Refinery via Siliguri of West Bengal by railway and the oil reaches Parbatipur oil depot by railway.
According to the gasoil purchase agreement, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will purchase Indian gasoil from Numaligarh Refinery at a negotiated premium of $3.50 via pipeline.
The pipeline can carry around 250,000 tonnes gasoil per year under the agreement between the two countries. Indian petroleum ministry officials said the volume will be gradually increased to 400,000 tonnes per year and subsequently to around 1 million tonnes a year.
The agreement provides adjustment of volume periodically based on the demand and the import may be extended beyond the agreed 15 years subject to mutual discussion.