India may bypass Dhaka to bring gas from Myanmar

New Delhi, Aug 4 | Updated: Aug 5 2005, 06:38am hrs
The government is planning to dump the option of routing the Myanmar-India gas pipeline via Bangladesh. It is instead looking at two alternatives:- importing gas from Myanmar in compressed form via ships or routing the pipeline through the north-eastern corridor of the country.

Senior petroleum ministry officials say routing the pipeline via Bangladesh is fraught with serious difficulties as Dhaka is adamant on the three pre-conditions set by it for allowing passage to this pipeline, as part of the trilateral dialogue

The conditions set by the Bangladesh government of providing a free trade and energy corridor to Nepal and Bhutan and also of correcting the $2 billion trade imbalance has got nothing to do with Myanmar, so why should this be made part of the trilateral dialogue process, questioned a ministry official.Meanwhile, the Indian foreign ministry is already discussing all these issues as part of the bilateral dialogue.

A pipeline via Bangladesh will not only carry Myanmar gas to India but will also help in transporting gas within Bangladesh. Besides, Bangladesh will also get a transit fee to allow passage to this pipeline, the official said.

The ministry has asked GAIL India to make a presentation on transporting Myanmar gas in compressed form and also through a pipeline via north- east. As per GAIL officials, there is a technology called Enersea for transporting CNG by ship. We are carrying our further studies and will shortly submit a detailed proposal for the consideration of the ministry, said the GAIL official.