Deal signed to treble country's oil refining capacity
The government has teamed up with France-based Technip in order to treble the country's capacity for refining crude oil, thus cutting the reliance on imports.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, the state-run oil importer, yesterday signed an agreement with the French company at a programme held at the capital's Sonargaon Hotel.
Under the deal, Technip will set up the second unit of the Eastern Refinery Ltd. It also established the existing sole unit of ERL in Chittagong 47 years ago.
The refinery, which has the capacity to process 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil a year, now refines 1.4 million tonnes of finished petroleum products every year.
Once completed, the second unit will process 3 million tonnes of crude petroleum per year, and in so doing, help the country save $220 million, said BPC Chairman AM Badrudduja.
At present, the country's annual demand for crude and finished oil is 5.5 million tonnes.
The project, which is estimated to cost Tk 8,949-crore, will be ready by 2018, said Abul Kalam Azad, chairman of ERL.
BPC has already bought land from the industries ministry for Tk 230 crore for the project, said Energy Secretary Abubakar Siddique.
Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power, said the project would enable the country to process any kind of crude oil and it might put Bangladesh on the path to becoming a country exporting refined petroleum products.
Nepal has already shown interest to import refined petroleum products from Bangladesh, according to Hamid.
The surplus finished petroleum products can be exported to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and the north eastern parts of India as well.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the existing unit is running at more than 95 percent of its capacity.
KK Lim, president of Technip Asia Pacific, and Badrudduja signed the agreement on behalf of their respective companies.