Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) of India has expressed its interest to supply diesel to Bangladesh through Hili land port in Dinajpur from Numaligarh refinery in Assam.
The corporation submitted a proposal recently in this regard offering to supply the diesel through 50 wagons, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) official said.
However, Bangladesh is going to import diesel through Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur, which is now under construction. Besides, the government plans to import 200 mmcfd of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from India through cross-border gas pipeline by 2021. On the other hand, Bangladesh is also importing electricity from India.
Bharat Petroleum has long been carrying diesel from Numaligarh to Bangladesh border via West Bengal. BPC then carries the fuel through the state-owned Bangladesh Railway to its Parbatipur depot in the country's northern region.
Diesel import from neighboring India has recently dropped by almost half due to Bangladesh Railway's capacity constraints.
BPC official said ‘They wrote to the Bangladesh Railway to develop necessary infrastructure to facilitate BPCL's diesel transportation to Parbatipur through West Bengal Railway wagons.’
The rail routes from Numaligarh refinery to Parbatipur have broad-gauge tracks on either side. It might not be difficult for Bangladesh Railway to develop required infrastructure.
Over the past several months, the Indian company has been requesting its Bangladesh counterpart to import 50 wagons of diesel from Numaligarh refinery by one rake.
But BPC has so far denied it on grounds of incapacity to import 50 wagons of diesel in one go due to Bangladesh Railway's limited capacity.
Due to transportation bottleneck, BPC can now import only two rakes of diesel per month from Numaligarh through railway instead of four rakes.
BPCL has informed BPC not to supply over two rakes of diesel if the BPC continues importing diesel with a 42-wagon rake, the official said.
It, however, intends to supply four rakes of diesel if BPC imports through a 50-wagon rake, he added.
Presently, Bangladesh imports around 4,400 tonnes of diesel every month from BPCL-owned Numaligarh refinery through two consignments, 2,200 tonnes each. But BPC can import four consignments of diesel every month under an agreement with BPCL.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) officials said currently, the oil demand is around 70 lakh metric tons in the country. This demand is increasing every year. Of these, about 67 lakh metric tons is being imported.
In September last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the construction of 130-km Bangladesh-India Friendship oil pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur oil depot in Dinajpur.
The oil pipeline will supply one million metric tonnes of high-speed diesel per year to Bangladesh. The diesel is currently transported through a cross-border train from Numaligarh refinery in north eastern state of Assam to Dinajpur in Bangladesh. The railway lines will connect Joydevpur and Tongi with Dhaka.The cross-border pipeline will go through Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Dinajpur to reach Parbatipur oil storage tanks inside Bangladesh. If the pipeline is built, a large amount of transportation costs and oil system loss will be reduced annually. The construction work of the pipeline will have a deadline to be completed by the end of December 2020, BPC officials said. The annual transportation capacity of the pipeline will be 10 lakh tonnes. But according to the 15-year contract, the first three years will be 2.5 lakh tons, 3 lakh tons for the next three years, 3.5 lakh tons from the seventh to the 10th year, and 4 lakh tons of diesel annually imported from 11 to 15 years. However it can be increase or decrease by negotiating with two countries.