02 September, Nay Pyi Taw
The first consignment of high speed diesel from India will reach Myanmar on September 3, Parami Energy Group CEO Ken Tun has said.
Ken Tun told Mizzima News that his group is importing the diesel under a joint venture agreement with India’s Numaligarh Refineries or NRL.
Two trucks, each loaded with 4,000 gallons of high speed diesel or HSD, will reach Moreh on September 3, he said on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Myanmar in BIMSTEC’ here. Moreh is a town located on the India-Myanmar border in the Indian state of Manipur.
“They will be formally received by Parami Energy officials in Tamu (in Myanmar, on the border crossing with Moreh) and the event will be viewed on screen by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other ministers and officials of her government,” Ken Tun said.
Modi arrives in Myanmar on September 5 on a three-day visit from Xiamen in China, where he is going to attend the BRICS summit.
Ken Tun said Parami Energy will import between 10 to 20 trucks of High Speed Diesel from NRL every day for three months before India takes a call on whether to go for a pipeline to transport diesel to Myanmar,
“We will see whether the demand stabilises and then check if the volumes are big enough to justify construction of a pipeline to bring down transport costs. If we have a big demand, a pipeline is the only way we can compete with others who import petroleum products by sea,” Ken Tun told Mizzima.
He said 40 per cent of Myanmar’s daily consumption of 200,000 barrels of High Speed Diesel is in Mandalay and other parts of northern Myanmar.
“It makes business sense to source this supply from northeast India,” Ken Tun said.
The Numaligarh Refinery is Assam’s biggest among the four in the northeastern state.
“Initially, tankers will be used to take diesel from Numaligarh by road to Myanmar. We might explore possibilities of laying a pipeline to export diesel at a later stage if technically feasible,” a senior NRL official said, unwilling to be named.
Myanmar requires some 5 million tonnes of diesel annually and the oil-rich state of Assam can easily meet the demand, he said.
“It would be a profitable business proposition, and eventually we might think of exporting other petroleum products,” the senior official of Assam’s state-owned Numaligarh Refinery said.
He said natural gas could also be imported from Myanmar to India using a separate pipeline.
“Between four to six trillion cubic feet of gas reserves were discovered recently in Myanmar. It would be economically cheaper to wheel back gas (through a pipeline) from Myanmar for use in India,” the official said.
Ken Tun said Parami Energy was also looking at importing electricity from northeast India, like Bangladesh is doing at the moment.
(Subir Bhaumik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)