Dhaka, Delhi exploring cross-border RLNG pipeline, terminal projects

Diplomatic Correspondent

11 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

India on Wednesday said it is considering a proposal with Bangladesh for supplying Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) through a cross-border pipeline and also exploring the establishment of an LNG terminal.

“We are working assiduously to promote the sub-region comprising Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and India as an energy hub,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said while Inauguration of the South Asia Group on Energy (SAGE) at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He said be it conventional sources, hydropower, solar, wind or even petroleum products, India is taking the lead to promote a regional approach to our energy needs, according to a written speech available in the MEA website.

“Being the largest producer and consumer of energy in the region, it is natural for us to be the epicentre for any energy initiative in the region. We have to make energy affordable, accessible and clean,” Shringla added.

The Indian Foreign Secretary said energy connectivity is one of the most dynamic sectors of cooperation in our relationship with Bangladesh. “Our cooperation in hydrocarbons’ sector is diversifying into the entire value chain of the oil and gas sector.”

The bilateral hydrocarbon trade was $337.3 million in 2019-20 ($322.32 million from April-November 2020), he said.         

He said India is constructing the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh for the supply of high-speed diesel and Indian companies have invested nearly $24.26 million in two shallow-water blocks in Bangladesh.

Shringla said Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh jointly inaugurated the project to import Bulk LPG from Bangladesh in October 2019 aiming to increases bilateral trade and ensures a sustained and affordable supply of LPG to the North-Eastern region of India, which is supplied from Chattogram by Bangladesh trucks to Tripura.

He said Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is currently undertaking several activities in Bangladesh in coordination with Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla).

A Joint Venture has been formed between IOCL and Beximco in June 2020 to further expand its downstream business in Bangladesh and other countries.

In this regard, Shringla said a proposal for supplying R-LNG through cross-border pipeline and establishment of an LNG terminal is also being explored.

With Bangladesh, he said India is currently supplying 1160 MW of electricity through the two existing interconnections and the two countries are in discussion regarding the construction of a 765kV power interconnection through Katihar in India via Parbatipur in Bangladesh to Bornagar in India, which when constructed, will reinforce interconnection of grids in the region.

The Indian Foreign Secretary said India is also assisting Bangladesh in the construction of transmission lines as well as power evacuation facilities from the upcoming Rooppur Nuclear Plant in Bangladesh.

“We are constructing the 1320 MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project at Rampal in Bangladesh, with Unit 1 to be commissioned in November 2021 and Unit 2 in March 2022.”:

Separately, he said Adani Power Ltd signed an MoU with Bangladesh Power Development Board in November 2017 for the supply of power to Bangladesh from a 1600 MW coal-based plant which is being constructed in Godda, Jharkhand. L&T has commissioned 225 MW at Sikalbaha (near Chittagong), and the 360 MW project at Bheramara (Kushtia District, Khulna Division), reiterating the growth and potential of this area.

“To translate our vision of enhanced energy cooperation in the region, the most optimal solution is an integrated regional grid,” he said and pointed out the challenges like inadequate transmission infrastructure, unnecessary duplication, lack of guarantee of power availability and offtake, insufficient coordination among national authorities, technical differences and regulatory mismatch.

Pointing to a wide variation in energy resource endowments and energy demand in the region, he said while India and Bangladesh account for the major natural gas and coal resources, Bhutan and Nepal have large hydropower resources. Sri Lanka has great potential for solar and wind power production.

“All the countries have vast renewable energy potential. By harnessing complementarities in electricity demand, load curves and resource endowments, a mutually beneficial model of co-operation in South Asia could be developed,” Shringla said.