B`desh looks for energy cooperation with Russia: Official

PM Sheikh Hasina is all set to visit Russia as Bangladesh looks forward for intensified energy cooperation with Moscow boosted by a recent signing of a crucial civil nuclear deal.

Updated: May 30, 2010, 20:57 PM IST

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is
all set to visit Russia as Bangladesh looks forward for
intensified energy cooperation with Moscow boosted by a recent
signing of a crucial civil nuclear deal, officials said on Sunday.

"We expect you to discuss with you about the
time-frame of Prime Minister`s visit to Russian Federation,"
Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said at a regular
press briefing.

The ties are buoyed by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni`s
Moscow visit earlier this month, which coincided with the
signing of a framework agreement on Cooperation in the field
of the use of nuclear energy and installation of the country`s
maiden Ruppoor power plant.

The development prepared grounds for Prime Minister`s
visit while it also yielded Russian assurances for cooperation
for tapping other energy resources.

Quayes said during the visit Russian government
leaders including their foreign minister Sergey Lavrov assured
Moni of extending hands with technologies to enhance
production in 29 old wells in different gas fields.

An official statement issued during the foreign
minister`s visit earlier also said Moscow expressed its
willingness to support Bangladesh in enhancing power
-generation through modernisation and rehabilitation of
Russian built conventional power plants.

It will also provide technology of combined cycle
generation and developing new unites of production to meet
growing power deficit in Bangladesh.

The two Foreign Ministers emphasised on working
together in oil and gas exploration and development of the
sector for which delegations of Russian State Company
`Gazprom` will visit Bangladesh for assessment and conclusion
of an MoU.

State minister for science and ICT Yafes Osman signed
the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in the field of the use
of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes with director general
of Russia`s State Atomic Energy Corporation or `Rosatom`
Sergey Kirienko, who is a former Russian prime minister, in
Moscow on May 21.

Foreign minister Dipu Moni, also on a visit to Moscow,
witnessed the signing of the agreement which, officials here
said would kick off a detailed discussion on Russian
assistance for Bangladesh`s proposed Ruppoor Nuclear Power
Plant.

The Foreign Secretary said in line with the
discussions between the foreign ministers of the two
countries, Dhaka and Moscow were expected to enhance
cooperation in trade sector particularly through export of
more Bangladeshi products without duties, direct air links and
cooperation in banking systems.

He said Bangladesh-Russia trades were now faced with
some problems largely because the Bangladeshi products were
needed to reach Russia through European countries and also
because of complexities in banking systems.

Officials of the science and ICT and foreign
ministries earlier said, the premier’s forthcoming Moscow
visit was more crucial as it could yield an understanding at
the summit level talks on the Russian nuclear cooperation in
terms of technology, finance and nuclear fuel for the Rupoor
plant.

Dhaka-Moscow cooperation under the agreement would
include "design, construction and operation of nuclear power
and research reactors; nuclear fuel supply, taking back the
spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste management."

It will also include "personnel training and capacity
building for operation and maintenance of the plants;
research, education and training of personnel in the Russian
Federation in the field of the use of nuclear energy;
development of innovative reactor technologies; and
exploration and mining of uranium and thorium deposits."

"As per the agreement, the parties shall assure the
transfer of materials, technologies, equipment and services
for implementation of joint programs in the field of the use
of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," the agreement read.

International Atomic Energy Association allowed
Bangladesh to install nuclear power plants in 2007 along with
seven other developing nations while Russia, France, South
Korea, China and Pakistan expressed their interest to offer
their assistance for developing the infrastructure.

Officials said the planned nuclear project was
expected to cost USD 1.5 billion with major part of the cost
to be provided through domestic funds and the rest of the
amount to come from the builder or international donors as
soft loan.

PTI