The Bangladeshi Government has reached an agreement with the state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPP) for a project to set up a 220-km pipeline to carry oil from tankers in the Bay of Bengal to storage plants on the mainland.
Bangladesh's cabinet committee on economic affairs had earlier given the go-ahead to the Chinese firm for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning for installation of single point mooring with 220 km double pipelines.
Officials say the project cost stands at 54.26 billion taka (about $694 million), with China Exim Bank giving about $550 million in low-cost loans.
The project is expected to be completed by 2018 in line with an agreement signed between the CPP and the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), a state run organization.
Zhao Yujian, head of CPP, and Sayed Mohammad Mozammel Haque, director of BPC, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides in the capital Dhaka.
Officials say once the project is implemented, the new infrastructure will help unload crude oil from mother vessels in the Bay of Bengal.
They said the new infrastructure with annual unloading capacity of 9 million tonnes will pave the way for unloading 120,000 tonnes of crude oil in 48 hours and 70,000 tonnes of diesel in 28 hours.
Under the project, BPC officials said the Chinese firm will build 146-km offshore pipeline and 74-km onshore pipeline to carry imported oil from deep sea to a refinery in Chittagong district, some 242 km southeast of the capital Dhaka, for processing.
The project has been launched as Bangladesh is not currently in a position to handle large vessels carrying imported crude and finished oil because of low navigability of a key river channel and constrained facilities at the principal seaport in Chittagong.
Against this backdrop, according to the officials, currently large tankers anchor at deep sea and smaller ships unload them, taking lots of time and causing systematic losses for the government.
Nasrul Hamid, Bangladeshi state minister for power and energy, said the new infrastructure will help the country to hasten the entire process and save about 1 billion taka (about $12.5 million) a year in reduced vessel fare and operational loss.
According to project details, a diesel and crude oil storage tank will be set up at Moheshkhali Island on the Bay of Bengal under Bangladeshi Cox's Bazar district, some 391 km southeast of the capital Dhaka.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2016)