Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has floated a tender to appoint a consultant for carrying out land acquisition and requisition related activities for the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFPL) route across Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Dinajpur districts. The corporation has decided to engage a third party to ease complexities and complete land acquisition process, for laying the first inter-country oil pipeline between the two neighbouring countries, a senior BPC official said.
Interested consultants have been asked to submit expression of interests (EOIs) by October 10. The work is scheduled to start by November and complete land acquisition by June 2019, he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly unveiled, on September 18, the pipeline project through video conferencing from their respective countries. The 136-kilometer long Indo-Bangla pipeline will be constructed from India’s West Bengal’s Siliguri up to Parbatipur oil depot of 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 of December 2020, the BPC official said. The oil pipeline will supply one million metric tons 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. Energy division said currently crude and refined oil is being transported to marine vessels, naval vessels, wagon trains and tank Lorries. In this context, the government has started to importance to the use of pipelines for oil transportation. The government wants to do it in both places inside and outside of the country. These pipelines will be set up to ease oil transportation and reduce costs.
BPC Chairmen Akram Al Hossain told, “When this pipeline is built, diesel supply will be ensured in dry season in the northern region of the country. The transportation cost, waste and loss of oil by road and railways will be reduced.” Indian diesel will be consumed by clients in the northern region, once the pipeline is constructed. At present, diesel demand is around 1.10 million tons in 16 northern districts in Bangladesh, the BPC official said.
He said the issue of import of diesel through the pipeline was finalised after the long discussion. Oil will be supplied from Numalighar Refinery Limited (NRL) in Assam, India. The total cost of the oil pipeline is pegged at Tk 4.29 billion. The 6-km Indian portion of the pipeline will be financed by NRL. On the other hand, the remaining 130 km of the oil pipeline will be in Bangladesh and it will be financed through India’s ongoing development cooperation programme.
BPC and NRL on October, 2017 signed a 15-year agreement. The annual transportation capacity of the pipeline will be 1 million tons. But according to the 15-year contract, the first three years will be 0.25 million tons, 0.3 million tons for the next three years, 0.35 million tons from the seventh to the 10th year, and 0.4 million tons of diesel annually imported from 11 to 15 years. However it can be increase or decrease by negotiating with two countries.