Besides meeting domestic consumption requirements in Bangladesh, Beximco and Omera will now supply fuel to households in the Indian state of Tripura.
Initially, the two leading private energy companies of Bangladesh will export about 2,000-4,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) each month on the Business to Government (B2G) model under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's just-concluded visit to India.
Apart from diversifying India's source of LPG to meet the growing demand for the fuel in its north-eastern state, the measure will add to the revenue earnings of the Bangladesh government.
This is for the first time that Bangladeshi firms will export fuel of any type, though they will export the item after importing it from some other countries.
According to sources at Mongla port, if any overseas vessel anchors at the port, it is required to pay Tk7 lakh.
"Thus, from the export of 4,000 tonnes of LPG to India under the Business to Government model, the port will earn about Tk2 crore each year," they pointed out.
The earnings could be higher if the export was done under the Government-to-Government (G2G) business model, they added.
"The amount of earnings will not be that big if only 4,000 tonnes of LPG are exported. But if the quantity is increased to 6,000 tonnes or above, revenue will go up to Tk10 crore each year," Md Siddikur Rahman, chief finance and accounts officer of Mongla Port Authority, told The Business Standard.
On Saturday, India signed three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Bangladesh, inclusive of the one on the import of LPG from Bangladesh.
Under the MoU, Omera Petroleum and Beximco LPG will export the fuel to state-owned Indian Oil Corporation, which will bottle and sell it to consumers.
The consignments will be shipped to Bishalgarh, a town in Sepahijala district of Tripura, through the Bibir Bazar border point in Cumilla.
Omera will initially export 1,000 tonnes of LPG per month, with the quantity going up to 3,000 tonnes over the next six months, a top official at Omera LPG told The Business Standard.
The company has European standard bottling and storage facilities in Mongla, Ghorashal, Bogura, and Mirasharai, which have a consolidated capacity of one lakh metric tonnes per year.
On the other hand, Beximco LPG Unit-1 Ltd, a venture of Beximco Group, has an LPG plant in Mongla of Bagerhat with a production capacity of almost one lakh tonnes per year. The plant has a storage capacity of 3,000 tonnes of LPG, with an extension for another 3,000 tonnes of storage.
The two companies have already had a trial run in August when a tanker with LPG was taken to Tripura from Mongla, according to officials directly related to the firms.
Currently, they are working out the details toward finalising the export process. However, at which rate the LPG will be exported to India could not be known.
At present, India imports almost a million tonnes of LPG every month to meet growing local demand. The demand is expected to rise to 35 million tonnes by 2031-32, according to some estimates.
Kuwait, Qatar and Oman are the other traditional LPG suppliers to the country under term contracts.
For its part, Bangladesh is one of the countries in the southeast highly dependent on imports to keep up its domestic energy supply.
The country currently consumes more than six lakh tonnes, most of which are supplied by private companies, and a fraction by the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.
Last year, private sector entrepreneurs supplied 5.37 lakh tonnes of LPG of a total of 5.54 lakh tonnes' consumption in the country.
The public sector supplies only 15,936 tonnes of LPG for bottling. Of this, 10,000 tonnes are obtained as a by-product from the processing of crude oil in Eastern Refinery at Chattogram and the rest is extracted from natural gas in Kailashtila gas field at Sylhet.