The government is set to lay a 246-kilometre pipeline for supplying fuel oil from Chattogram to Dhaka in an attempt to check pilferage and ensure its quick supply, officials said on Saturday.
The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will install the country's longest pipeline involving Tk 28.61 billion, they said.
The pipeline will carry imported and refined petroleum from the port city to Dhaka, the highest oil-consuming area.
According to the BPC, Dhaka and its adjacent areas consume nearly 1.5 million tonnes of oil a year.
From Godnail and Fatullah in Narayanganj, oil tankers usually transport oil through waterways to the depots in the country's northern areas including Baghabari (Pabna), Chilmari (Kurigram) and north-western Chachna Bazar (Sunamganj).
Some 200 tankers are used to transport nearly 90 per cent of oil through waterways.
Currently, Bangladesh depends on coastal tankers, railway wagons and tank-lorries to carry both crude and refined oils to end-users after import from global suppliers into Chattogram depots as it has no major oil- carrying pipeline.
Small barges, mostly owned by the private sector, also carry petroleum products on various river routes.
The BPC imports nearly 1.3 million tonnes of crude oil and 4.2 million tonnes of refined oil. Besides, different natural gas fields and private fractionation plants supply around 0.30 million tonnes of petroleum products.
A BPC official said they could save around Tk 1.50 billion annually as transportation cost and by checking pilferage during transportation through railway and waterways.
It was reported that an amount of fuel oil is being stolen at different points on the railway and waterway routes during its supply from Chittagong port and Eastern Refinery Limited to different areas across the country.
Besides, the current oil supply system is less secure than the underground pipeline systems.
The BPC official said they have already selected Bangladesh Army as the contractor for setting up the oil transportation pipeline.
According to the BPC, it will lay 237.71-km 16-inch diameter pipeline from BPC's Chattogram tank terminal to Godnail tank terminal in Narayanganj.
Besides, the state-run Petroleum Corporation will install another 8.29-km 10-inch diameter pipeline from Godnail to Fatullah in Narayanganj to carry oil.
Another 59.23-km 8-inch diameter pipeline from Cumilla to Chandpur will also be set up to supply oil to Chandpur areas.
The oil transportation pipeline will be secure as it will be three-LPE (Layer Extruded Polyethylene Coating) coated pipeline, said a BPC official.
An Energy Division official said once the pipeline is installed, it would help cut time in oil delivery to end-users, traffic congestion and accidents during transportation and other unforeseen bottlenecks like natural disasters and strike.
He said the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), the government's highest economic policy-making body, approved the pipeline project in October last.
The installation of the pipeline is scheduled to be completed by December next year, the official added.