Dhaka: Bangladesh has expressed interest in joining the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project which is expected to be completed by 2017, according to media reports.
The Financial Express, quoting sources in the government, said the energy starved-Bangladesh has requested the Asian Development Bank to include Bangladesh in the four-nation project.
"We need gas from sources outside the country as our own reserve is apparently dwindling" despite initiatives to explore hydrocarbon in the offshore blocks of Bay of Bengal, an Energy Ministry official said when asked to comment on the newspaper report.
According to the report, Dhaka wanted to join the TAPI project as a similar decade-old three-nation project involving Bangladesh, India and Myanmar virtually became non-existent following a poor response from source country, Myanmar.
TAPI pipeline is nearly 1,680-km long with a transit length of 735 kms in Afghanistan and about 800 kms in Pakistan. The 56-inch diameter pipeline is expected to cost USD 7.6 billion.
The newspaper report also quoted sources as saying that the proposed pipeline will require to be lengthened by another 700 km if it is to connect Bangladesh's internal gas network.
Experts believe it is both feasible and possible, if all the parties agree, they added.
"Our interest in such a project will continue to grow as long as gas shortage persists in the country," a senior official of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) tol the newspaper.
Bangladesh's total gas output is around 2,180 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) against its own requirements of more than 2,500 mmcfd.
Experts fear the actual demand would go up when the list of industries and housing units awaiting connections gets cleared, consequent upon availability of more gas.