Official talks on the much-delayed India-Bangladesh-Myanmar gas pipeline will start soon, said Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner to India, Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury at an event here on Thursday.
First mooted in 1997 by Mohona Holdings Limited of Bangladesh, the 900-km pipeline was to source natural gas from Myanmar, through Bangladesh, for supply into India. It was meant to deliver 5 billion cubic meters of gas from the Swe field in Southern Myanmar.
The three countries reached an agreement in 2005 but the Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh government withdrew from the project after India refused to accept its three additional conditions. On her return as Prime Minister in 2010, Sheikh Hasina gave her approval to pursue the project. By then, Myanmar was disinterested in the project as it had signed an MOU with China for a 2,388 km pipeline from Kyakphu in Myanmar to China’s Yunnan province.
With renewal of talks Myanmar’s estimated 90 trillion cubic feet gas reserves will be available for meeting India’s energy needs. The project was re-evaluated recently during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh as cooperation between the three countries has improved.