Two Bangladeshi companies are set to export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the landlocked northeastern states of India.
Omera Petroleum and Beximco LPG will export LPG to state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which will bottle and sell to consumers.
“After a successful trial run last month, we are going to export a consignment of LPG formally on Thursday,” Shamsul Haque Ahmed, chief executive officer of Omera, told The Daily Star yesterday.
The consignment will be shipped to Bishalgarh, a town in Sepahijala district of Tripura in India, through Bibirbazar border point in Cumilla.
Omera will initially export 1,000 tonnes of LPG per month, with the quantity going up to 3,000 tonnes over the next six months.
Beximco LPG, which also exported a consignment on a trial basis last month, will take a couple of weeks to export its second batch, an official of the company said.
“We are yet to finish all the procedures. We will come up with the disclosure in two weeks,” he said.
Northeast India comprises eight states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
Of India’s 130 crore people, the eight states account for nearly 4 percent. Their combined LPG demand could be 10,000 tonnes per month, according to industry players in Bangladesh.
Northeast India is the eastern-most region connected with mainstream India through a narrow corridor in Siliguri of West Bengal. Transporting goods to this region from mainland takes days and cost escalates to a level that is not viable for businesses.
Last year, the IOC decided to supply LPG to the northeastern states either from the Paradip port in Odisha or the Haldia port in West Bengal through the Chittagong port in Bangladesh.
Later, it was supposed to move by road to bordering Indian states like Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.
As that was not commercially viable, the IOC talked to Bangladeshi companies for LPG supply and this year the IOC partnered with Omera and Beximco for the fuel.
There are 19 importers and bottlers of LPG in Bangladesh and their combined production capacity is nearly 20 lakh tonnes against a demand of only nine lakh tonnes.
As their capacity is hugely under-utilised, exports to India, albeit at low-scale, will help them become commercially viable.