Bangladesh considers limited gas exports to India

Nov 25, 2002 01:00 AM

Bangladesh, under pressure from donors and investors, is looking at a limited export of natural gas to neighbouring India, an official was quoted saying.
"The government (is) considering limited export of gas as the country needed a huge investment to explore and develop new gas fields," Musharraf Hossain, state minister for energy, told a seminar. He said the export issue would be approved by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's cabinet before being put to parliament.

Natural gas export is a sensitive issue for Bangladesh. The main opposition Awami League, led by Zia's arch-rival, former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, says exports would hamper national interests as the country must first be assured of a 50-year reserve.
But weary investors and some donors, the latest being the Asian Development Bank, continue to press the government for an early decision. Some have warned that cash-strapped Bangladesh would lose a lucrative market by saying no.

US oil giant Unocal is proposing a 1,363 km (847-mile) gas pipeline stretching from Bangladesh's north-eastern Bibiyana to India's western state of Gujarat, which it says would also increase access within Bangladesh.
But studies commissioned by Zia's government have said Bangladesh is not in a position to sell energy resources. The country had proven recoverable gas reserves of 13 tcf, of which more than 3 tcf has already been extracted, according to official figures.

Source: Agence France-Presse
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