Tuesday, July 10, 2012 -
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has advised Bangladesh to formally request participation in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline partnership by Sunday, a Tuesday report said.
Bangladesh is suffering a chronic energy crisis that has forced the shutdown of most of factories around Dhaka, its capital city.
The Dhaka government applied for inclusion in the project, whose secretariat is the ADB, and received a favorable response during a TAPI steering committee meeting in May.
ADB is also backing the massive $7.6 billion project.
Bangladesh is currently purchasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Middle East suppliers and local gas from international oil companies operating its fields to supplement a 25 percent shortfall of state production.
Authorities in Dhaka are not entirely confident about participating in the project.
Analysts say TAPI would only benefit Bangladesh if the Turkmen gas is cheaper than LNG imports from the Middle East.
But a preliminary technical assessment undertaken by the country['s Gas Transmission Company a little more than a month ago found that Bangladesh would pay hefty prices to build a TAPI pipeline extension from India and install the necessary compressor stations.
Consequently, some local officials suggest a more viable solution would be that Bangladesh simply purchases imports of Indian gas, once the pipeline to New Delhi is up and running.
Under current plans, the trans-regional natural gas pipeline project will transport around 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from massive fields in Turkmenistan to the three recipient countries.