India and Bangladesh will scale up hydrocarbon cooperation this week with state-owned firms Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) and Bangladesh Petroleum Corp. (BPC) entering into joint venture projects, leveraging the expertise of the companies and the geographic advantages of the two nations, said a statement from the oil ministry.
IOC seeks to build hydrocarbon infrastructure in Bangladesh, including a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import terminal at Chittagong, from where the fuel could be transported to India through a 'friendship pipeline'.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who on Sunday reached Bangladesh on a short visit, will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding on broad aspects of cooperation in downstream oil and gas sector opportunities in Bangladesh between IOC and BPC, said the statement.
Bangladeshs Eastern Refineries Ltd. will also hire India’s Engineers India Ltd. (EIL) as a management consultant for a three million tonne refinery expansion project, said the statement. India also offered to supply 2200 million tonnes of diesel to Bangladesh from the Siliguri marketing terminal of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd to the Parbatipur depot of BPC on a sustainable basis. Pradhan called on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina on Sunday to discuss the details of the cooperation.
The closer tie comes in the wake of eagerness from both sides to leverage the geographic advantages for mutual benefit. India has already requested Dhaka to grant rights for transporting cooking fuel to North Eastern states through Bangladesh. North Eastern states find it easier to import many goods from Bangladesh than sourcing from the nearest Indian state, West Bengal. India is also keen to have access to the Chittagong port for easy access to markets like Myanmar and Thailand.
Bangladesh had earlier permitted India to transport heavy equipment through its territory to ONGC Tripura Power Co’s power plant at Palatana in Tripura which helped in its timely commissioning last year. India recently agreed to sell power from this plant to Bangladesh.
The ongoing collaboration between companies from both countries in the hydrocarbon sector range from trade in petroleum products, exploration work and consultancy services, the statement said, quoting Pradhan.
Pradhan is expected to meet Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, adviser on energy, power and mineral resources to Sheik Hasina and Nasrul Hamid, Bangladeshs minister for power, energy and mineral resources.