BPC aims to deliver Indian oil via pipeline this year

Will import 90,000 tonnes of diesel

A railway wagon carrying diesel from India’s Numaligarh refinery is seen at the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s Parbatipur depot. Photo: star/file

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A railway wagon carrying diesel from India’s Numaligarh refinery is seen at the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s Parbatipur depot. Photo: star/file

The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will import 90,000 tonnes of diesel from India this calendar year and it is seeking to channel some of the oil through a 131 kilometer Bangladesh-India Pipeline (BIFP), which is expected to become operational in 2022, officials announced yesterday.

The state agency has been importing diesel from Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) since 2016 on railway wagons via Banglabandha on the northwestern border to store the oil at its Parbatipur oil depot in Dinajpur.

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But as construction of the 125 kilometer BIFP in Bangladesh has already been completed, officials expect to be able to move the oil through the pipeline.

Construction of the pipeline was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in September 2018.

“At the moment, we will be transporting oil by railroad cars. We also hope that we will be able to import oil through the pipeline from this year,” said BPC Chairman ABM Azad. .

He said there was 10 to 15 percent of the pipeline work left.

He shared the update after the cabinet committee on the purchase gave its approval to the premium of $5.5 per barrel for insurance and other costs to import diesel from NRL India via Siliguri, in West Bengal.

The price of diesel is determined based on five-day average prices (two days before and after the oil loading day) in the international market, officials said.

BPC officials said the agency had imported around 60,000 tonnes of diesel from the NRL in 2021 and was storing the oil at its Parbatipur depot to meet some of the demand for irrigation, transport and for other purposes in the north, the main agricultural belt.

In addition to helping BPC diversify energy sources, imports via Siliguri from the neighboring country to the Parbatipur depot have enabled the agency to reduce the losses and transportation costs it had to bear earlier to transport Chattogram oil, an official said.

In order to import oil smoothly, the two agencies adopted the BIFP project with a transmission capacity of one million metric tons per year.

Under this initiative, the BPC has taken on a Tk 300 crore project for land acquisition and pipeline requisition, in addition to the construction of eight reservoirs.

Six reservoirs with a capacity of 4,800 tons each and two water reservoirs for firefighting are under construction at the Parbatipur depot, said a senior official from Meghna Petroleum, one of the three state-owned oil marketing companies. oil.

In addition, a pipeline will be built to supply oil to a power plant under construction.

The official said the 5 km pipeline falls in India and crosses the Mahananda River from Panchagargh.

Work related to the river crossing is ongoing, he said, adding that the pandemic has affected the pace of the project.

“We expect to complete commissioning by June,” he said, adding that they would connect the pipeline to the existing depot.

The BPC project started in January 2020 and is expected to end in June 2022.

The Hindu on December 16 quoted Indian Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla as saying that the work on the pipeline would allow the two countries to integrate their energy needs.

Work is progressing well and the pipeline could be inaugurated next year, he said. Bangladesh needs 47 lakh tons of diesel annually out of its needs of more than 85 lakh tons of oil.

After yesterday’s cabinet committee meeting on procurement, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, responding to a question about the reduction in oil prices, said the energy ministry would look into the matter.

But the government will look into the matter if prices fall on the international market, he added. BPC officials, however, said oil prices were volatile in the global market and a price decline at this time was unlikely.

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