Bangladesh pipeline hits a hurdle

The construction of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Product Pipeline (IBFPL) from Numaligarh Refinery Ltd’s marketing terminal in Siliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh could be hit because of a technical objection raised by H-Energy Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of real estate firm Hiranandani Group.

“The customer — Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) — for which the dedicated pipeline has been proposed is a marketing and distribution company of petroleum products in Bangladesh. Hence, the customer (BPC) will resell the products to its customers,” H-Energy informed the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).

“Therefore, the proposed pipeline does not fall within the definition of a dedicated pipeline and the application of a dedicated pipeline under the provisions of PNGRB authorisation regulations cannot be considered,” it contended.

H-Energy pointed out that rule 19 (2) of the authorisation regulations states that “the entity proposing to lay, build and operate or expand a dedicated pipeline to transport petroleum products to a specific customer and not for resale”.

Sources said the regulator would soon come out with its ruling on the issue based on the submission made by H-Energy.

Of the 129.5km long pipeline, only 5.16km would fall in India. The Indian leg of the 1-million-tonne-a-year pipeline will be financed by Assam-based Numaligarh Refinery (NRL), a BPCL subsidiary.

The pipeline is to be financed through India’s ongoing development co-operation programme. The total cost is estimated at INR 360 crore. Depending on the availability of the right of way in Bangladesh, the pipeline is scheduled to be completed in 27 months.

At present, high-speed diesel is being supplied from the Siliguri terminal through rail rakes. The completion of this pipeline will ensure an assured, sustainable and eco-friendly supply to Bangladesh.

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