The Prime Minister’s Office has sought the views of the External Affairs and Petroleum Ministries on a private sector player’s proposal for putting in place strategic gas grid connectivity between India and Bangladesh and also for building a floating LNG terminal near Chittagong.

In a note to both Ministries, the PMO has forwarded the proposal by H-Energy East Coast Pvt Ltd (HEECPL) to transport gas from its proposed LNG import terminal facility in Digha in West Bengal to Jessore in energy-deficient Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, which is experiencing a shortfall of 500 million cubic feet of gas a day, has already proposed to set up a floating import terminal close to Chittagong to handle around 5 million tonne per annum of LNG.

In his presentation to the PMO and the National Security Advisor, Proshanto Banerjee, a former GAIL Chairman and Managing Director and now advisor (Business Development), HEECPL, has said the four-million tonne per annum floating LNG terminal, being promoted by the Hiranandani Group company in the offshore Digha region, is expected to be operational by 2015.

This facility, it is intended, will supply gas to West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar and some northern States through the proposed Haldia-Jagdishpur pipeline of GAIL India and also connect Kolkata.

“Since Kolkata is about 80 km from the Indo-Bangladesh border at Petropol, it should be readily feasible to extend the Haldia-Jagdishpur pipeline to Petropol from Kolkata and further down Petrapol is about 46 km from the gas grid of Bangladesh passing through Jessore,” says Mr. Banerjee’s letter.

‘Cost-effective option’

It argues that the proposal will enable PetroBangla to import LNG from a source of its choice at a competitive price and have it re-gasified in the facility planned by HEECPL in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh could take delivery of gas at the Petropol border, a cost-effective option.

“The Bangladesh government is very keen on this proposal,” Mr. Banerjee said. A copy of his letter has been forwarded to NSA Shivshankar Menon.

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