Zia wants to export power (not gas) to India

Vol 5, PW 18 (24 Oct 01) People & Policy

Oops! Did we speak too soon about Bangladesh gas exports to India Newly-elected Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia seems keen to export power, not gas.

In an exclusive interview with a Petrowatch correspondent in Dhaka, Zia reveals her mind on the crucial issues of foreign investments and gas exports. She tells us a "fresh new package" is being prepared to attract foreign investment.

What are the components of this package "We can guarantee easy rates of gas for a period of three to five years, easy land acquisition and single window project clearance." What about gas exports to India "Why should we think only in terms of exporting gas to India I would prefer to sell power to India rather than pipe out natural gas. Indian companies should invest in Bangladesh in gas-based industries." Any ideas on where to invest money "Power is an obvious area India should invest in," Zia tells us.

"If they can set up so many hydel powerplants in Bhutan or Nepal, why can't they think of gas-based power projects in Bangladesh" Does it mean no gas exports to India "We will make a proper assessment of our needs and utilisation capabilities," adds Zia. "Then if we think we have a surplus, we will consider exports.

But we need national consensus on this. If we have surplus gas we might export it, but that decision will not be taken under pressure from any country or lobby."