Myanmar grid can by-pass Bangladesh

Also, there will be less security risk of bringing the gas through a foreign country, which would charge a transit fee.

If the pipeline was laid through Bangladesh to Bengal, it would be 900km long and cost around $1.03 billion; if it is laid through India’s NE, by-passing Bangladesh, the pipeline would have to cover an additional 500km, and the cost would increase by approximately $570 million. Part of this additional cost would be offset by avoiding the transit fee that Bangladesh would charge for allowing the pipeline to pass through its territory, however.

If the pipeline enters India directly from Myanmar through the NE states it would have another advantage, as the gas produced in these states cannot be exported to more-lucrative markets at present. “A pipeline is like a road, it benefits the entire territory that it passes through,” a senior Gail official said.

Since the gas from Myanmar is expected to flow for a period of 15-20 years or more, laying the pipeline entirely through the Indian territory could well be worth the additional cost. “While petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar had made good headway with the proposed Myanmar-India-Bangladesh pipeline, Dhaka has queered the pitch by bringing in bilateral issues into trilateral talks,” a senior Bangladesh official pointed out.

Bangladesh seems to have thought that India does not have any other economically-viable option, and it had started imposing preconditions on issues related to India-Bangladesh and access to Nepal through Indian territory.

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