A new era in energy cooperation
"The time and expenditure for importing diesel from India will be reduced significantly."
"I am confident that this pipeline will further speed up the development of Bangladesh."
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline will play a pivotal role in ensuring fuel security in Bangladesh.
" [And ] ... at a time when many countries are faced with fuel crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war," she added.
The prime minister was addressing a programme marking the inauguration of the 131.57 km pipeline yesterday, reports UNB.
The PM and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi formally opened the pipeline through videoconferencing.
Hasina was connected to the event from her official residence Gono Bhaban while Modi joined the programme from his office.
The pipeline has been built as part of energy cooperation between the two neighbours. Using this infrastructure, Bangladesh will import petroleum, especially diesel, from India.
Around 90 lakh litre of diesel was imported through this pipeline yesterday, said Tipu Sultan, project director of the pipeline project, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.
BSS adds: Speaking at the event, Indian PM Modi said, "I am confident that this pipeline will further speed up the development of Bangladesh and be an excellent example of the increasing connectivity between the both the countries."
He said Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in the last few years under Hasina's able leadership.
"Every Indian is proud of that and we are delighted that we have been able to contribute to the development journey of Bangladesh."
'WORKING TOGETHER FOR DEVELOPMENT'
Hasina said that the two countries have settled bilateral problems one by one and they are working together for their development.
"We are getting cooperation from India for our development."
The PM said Bangladesh will be benefited in various ways due to the opening of the pipeline.
"The time and expenditure for importing diesel from India will be reduced significantly with the use of this pipeline."
She said the supply of diesel to Bangladesh's 16 northern districts will remain stable.
Terming India a genuine friend of Bangladesh, Hasina said, "I want that the friendship of our two countries will remain intact."
She said that the government has developed Mongla and Chattogram ports, international airports in Sylhet and Chattogram and upgraded the Syedpur Airport as a regional airport.
"We are opening these ports for India completely. There will be no problem for India to use these ports. It will ease the trade and business activities, and the people of both the countries will be benefited."
The PM invited Indian investors to invest in Bangladesh's economic zones. She hoped that like this pipeline, Bangladesh and India will jointly celebrate many more successes in future.
Hasina recalled the contributions of the government and the people of India during Bangladesh's Liberation War, and expressed her personal gratitude for the cooperation they extended to her after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975.
PROGRESS MADE IN CONNECTIVITY
Modi said the supply of diesel through the pipeline would cut the cost and also reduce the carbon footprint of the supply.
Highlighting the increasing connectivity between the two neighbours, he said that the two countries together have made a lot of progress in the sector.
He observed that the rail connectivity between the two nations helped sending Covid vaccines and oxygen to Bangladesh through rail network. "I heartily congratulate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Ji for her far-sighted vision."
The Indian premier said the inauguration of the pipeline was taking place a day after the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"Bangabandhu's 'Sonar Bangla' vision included the harmonious development and prosperity of the entire region. This joint project is a perfect example of that vision."
Modi thanked Hasina for her constant guidance on the project and expressed his willingness to continue working with her for the benefit of the two peoples.
The cross-boundary pipeline will carry diesel from Assam-based Numaligarh Refinery Ltd's (NRL) marketing terminal at Siliguri in West Bengal to the Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
The project is jointly implemented by the NRL of India and Meghna Petroleum Ltd of Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi part of the pipeline is 126.57 km long while the remaining 5 km was installed in India.
Under the project, Bangladesh will annually import 2.5 lakh to 4 lakh tonnes of diesel from India.
Bangladesh needs to import 6.6 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes of petroleum to meet its annual demand.
The country currently imports 22,000 tonnes of diesel from India per month on railway wagons.
'NOT MUCH BENEFIT RIGHT NOW'
Speaking to The Daily Star, BPC officials said Bangladesh will not get cheaper diesel from India through the pipeline right now.
They said there is an agreement between the two countries under which Bangladesh imports fuel from India at a rate fixed considering the international benchmark oil price.
"Bangladesh will get diesel from India through the pipeline at this international rate. However, the transportation cost will reduce," said a BPC official on condition of anonymity.
India purchases Russian fuel at a discounted price. The Numaligarh Refinery is one of the Indian refineries which get Russian crude oil at a cheaper rate.
"If Bangladesh increases oil import after negotiating the prices with India, it may be able to get fuel at cheaper prices," the official added.