Dhaka: Energy-hungry Bangladesh is
examining an offer from Tehran to join a much-delayed project
to pipe natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India, an
official said on Tuesday.
Last month, Iran formally invited Bangladesh to
join the long-stalled USD 7.5 billion transnational gas
pipeline, dubbed the "peace pipeline", Bangladesh`s energy
secretary Mesbahuddin Ahmed told agency.
"We have sought more information on the offer,
which we will examine," he said. A spokesman for the Iranian
Embassy in Dhaka confirmed the invitation.
The pipeline plan would see gas carried from Iran,
which has the world`s second-biggest reserves after Russia, to
Pakistan and then India.
New Delhi has hesitated over the project because of
repeated disputes about prices and transit fees and its
volatile relationship with Pakistan.
But Hossain Mansur, the head of Bangladesh`s
state-owned energy giant Petrobangla, told AFP: "Personally,
I`d welcome the offer."
Bangladesh has offshore gas fields, but the
country`s energy reserves are being depleted fast, Mansur
The government estimates current gas reserves will
run out by 2014-15 at present consumption rates unless new gas
structures are discovered.
The country has been grappling with a severe gas
crisis in the past three years, with demand shooting up to
2,500 million cubic feet a day, against a supply of 1,950
million cubic feet a day.