• Plans for new gas pipelines to connect Bangladesh and India

    According to the Executive Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), S C Soni, the Indian government has recently begun planning to build a 6900 km gas pipeline that will link Bangladesh and West Bengal. The Economic Times has claimed that Soni told reporters: “As part of Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-eastern region, 6900 km pipelines would be laid connecting Sitwe [in Myanmar], Chittagong [in Bangladesh] and most north-eastern states, Siliguri and Durgapur.”

    Large quantities of gas are flared (burned) in the north-eastern region of India since, at present, it cannot be piped to the consumers, he noted. Thus, the plan is to carry the gas elsewhere to make it more readily available for productive purposes. Bangladesh Petroleum Corp. (BPC) and Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) signed an agreement in April 2016 to jointly set up a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal plant in Chittagong to help pipe gas to the north-eastern states. Thirteen routes with a total length of approximately 6900 km of pipelines have been proposed for the purpose.

    An Indian financial newspaper has also claimed that the government hopes the planned pipeline will boost mutual co-operation in the region’s energy sector, supporting this with a quote by the country’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan. Interacting with the media at the launch of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in Kolkata, Pradhan is reported to have said: “The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has started the process for constructing a pipeline from Contai in West Bengal via Haldia to Duttapulia on the India-Bangladesh border for supplying oil and natural gas.”

    “We have discussed with Bangladesh and agreed to take the pipeline to the country. There are also talks to bring the pipeline back to India through Shiliguri.” According to The Financial Express, the minister also suggested that there are plans to lay a pipeline from the Numaligarh refinery in Assam, which would supply high-speed diesel to Bangladesh. He continued to state that India is increasing its natural gas terminal capacity. “We have booked substantial gas in several parts of the world, including America, Australia and Mozambique. We have a long-term contract with Qatar and are also discussing with Iran. So, we have plenty of gas bookings and India as a whole is augmenting its LNG terminal capacity,” Pradhan stated.

    The future

    According to Soni, the ONGC Board has approved a plan to invest Rs. 50.50 billion to explore more gas in Tripura by 2022. “Under this plan, new wells would be drilled and additional surface facilities would be created to increase gas production from 5.1 million to 6.25 million m3/d from Tripura gas fields,” he said. Butch Goring Authentic Jersey

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