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Dhaka to revive talks on Myanmar-India gas link

November 16, 2009
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Bangladesh will restart negotiations over a long-standing proposal for a pipeline across its territory that would take natural gas from Myanmar to India, according to Reuters. In the past, India has proposed building the 290-km pipeline to import gas from Myanmar, but the proposal did not get immediate approval from Bangladesh. In January 2005 energy ministers of the three countries met for the first time in Yangon to discuss construction of a tri-nation gas pipeline with a total length of 950-km, and signed a draft memorandum of understanding. The pipeline was expected to enter eastern Bangladesh through the Brahmanbaria border point and enter India''s West Bengal state from the northern Rajshahi area of Bangladesh. The draft had a provision for hydropower transit from the Himalayas to Bangladesh through India, and a corridor across India for trade between Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Progress on the project has been delayed due to differences between Dhaka and New Delhi over trade and corridor issues. Analysts say the blocks off the coast of Myanmar have gas reserves of up to 6.0 trillion cubic feet. Investors in the relevant gas fields off Myanmar include South Korean Gas Corporation, India''s Oil and Natural Gas Corp., GAIL India and Daewoo International. If the plan is implemented, about $350 million would be invested in Bangladesh and it would expect to get nearly $100 million as a carrier fee per year, energy officials said. Bangladesh would also get another $100 million as a one-off "right of way" charge and $25 million each year for sharing in its management, the officials said.

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