India collaborating with Russia for nuclear power plant in Bangladesh
India said on Wednesday it is collaborating with Russia to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, the first initiative under a Indo-Russia deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. This will also be India`s first atomic energy venture abroad. "We are collaborating with our Russian and Bangladeshi partners on establishing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh," Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu said at the 61st general conference of the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Dr Basu`s remarks are significant given that the Indian nuclear establishment for years has not been able to grow, internationally, due to sanctions imposed on New Delhi post the 1974 Pokhran tests. It was, however, not clear what kind of "collaboration" India was doing since it is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - a 48 member grouping that controls the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nukes. According to the December 2014 `Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy` between India and Russia, the "two sides will explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for the construction of the Russian- designed nuclear power plants in third countries". India signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal, along with two more agreements, with Bangladesh in April under which the two sides can supply and manufacture equipment, material for the atomic power plant. The Rooppur project, which is being built by the Russians near Dhaka, will be Bangladesh`s first atomic energy project. After commissioning of two units, each with a capacity of 1200 MWs, Bangladesh will be the third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness energy from atomic fission. The Indian government has approved construction of 10 new indigenously built nuclear power projects, Dr Basu informed the IAEA. "With these reactors we will now have 21 reactors under construction and 22 reactors in operation. This will increase the capacity to over 22,000 MW by the end of next decade," he said. To cater to the needs of the country`s expanding nuclear power programme, the Department of Atomic Energy is also stepping up exploration and mining operations for uranium production, Dr Basu added.
Petrobangla inks MoU with Gunvor for LNG supply
Petrobangla, the state-run oil, gas and mineral resources corporation, on Tuesday signed another non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with trading agency Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG). The MoU was signed at a function at Petro Center in Dhaka. Petrobangla Secretary Syed Ashfaquzzaman and Speeleveled, Head of LNG-BD Asia of Gunvor Singapore PTE Ltd, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides. With this, Petrobangla tied up with five companies to facilitate LNG imports. Bangladesh signed its first MoU to import LNG with Qatar in 2011, then this year did MoUs with Switzerland-based AOT Energy on June 13, Oman Trading International of Oman in early September and Pertamina of Indonesia on September 15. About the MoU, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, who was present at the signing ceremony as the chief guest, said the government would ensure energy security by supplying primary fuel continuously. "Mixed gas will be supplied to the industries by mixing LNG with natural gas that would lead to slight price hike but would be more profitable for the businessmen," he said. He said the gas crisis in the country would be reduced from April next year. Besides long-term agreements with different state-owned enterprises, the government would also explore spot markets and invite tenders for mid-to-long-term contracts to import LNG. Petrobangla and Gunvor will prepare document for commercial agreement later. Besides, 41 companies expressed their interest for LNG purchase from spot market and the Masters Sales Procurement Agreements (MSPA) would be signed after preparing the panel, said Nasrul. He said in the first phase, 500 mmcfd LNG will be used in Chittagong region from April 2018, while 500 mmcfd LNG would be supplied for the middle part of the country from October 2018 in the second phase. Petrobangla now supplies approximately 2,750 million cubic feet per day against a demand for more than 3,700 mmcfd gas leading to interruption on power generation and industrial productions. Among others, Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division Nazimuddin Chowdhury and Petrobangla chairman Abul Mansur Md Fayzullah spoke at the function.