Dhaka Bangladesh has expressed its desire to join a four-nation Asian gas pipeline project to buy the energy resource from Turkmenistan by the end of 2017, reports and officials said here Tuesday.
The Financial Express newspaper quoting "sources" in the government said energy-starved Bangladesh requested the Asian Development Bank to include Bangladesh in the project that at the moment involves Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
"We need gas from sources outside the country as our own reserve is apparently dwindling" despite its initiatives to explore for hydrocarbons in the offshore blocks in the Bay of Bengal, an energy ministry official told Gulf News.
The report said Dhaka wanted to join the project as a similar decade-old three-nation project involving Bangladesh, India and Myanmar collapsed due to a poor response from the source country, Myanmar.Agreement
The proposed gas pipeline project drew media attention after Turkmenistan, bordering Afghanistan on the southeast, signed an agreement last week to sell natural gas to India and Pakistan.
The agreement among Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India for the sale of gas on commercial terms was signed in Avaza, a tourist resort in Turkmenistan, last Wednesday.
The 1,800 kilometre pipeline with its cost estimated in 2008 at $7.6 billion, will run from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India across the provinces of Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The proposed pipeline will require to be lengthened by another 700km if it is to connect to Bangladesh's internal gas network.
The project, if approved, is expected to be completed by the middle of 2017 if no security problems arise in Afghanistan as the US and the Nato alliance are scheduled to withdraw their troops from the country by the middle of 2014.