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Oil transport means and modes and the 2020-2021 crisis

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The current international shipping market can be described as ups and downs. Tariffs in this market have repeatedly reached new highs. The strong economic rebound in 2021 has become the driving force behind the cyclical increase in the market. After the frenzy in the first half of 2020, the international shipping tanker market has been affected by negative factors, including the general lack of demand for oil transport.

In the first half of 2021, international oil prices performed strongly and positively. Compared to the steady upward trend in crude oil prices, the international tanker market – after experiencing a setback in the second quarter of 2020 – was affected by a general lack of demand for oil transport; a delay in the dismantling of old ships; regular delivery of new ships and high demand for seaborne oil storage. Negative factors, such as the reduction of tankers in ports, continued to be bleak. Under the “new normalcy” of Covid-19, the first priority for shipowners has been to survive and the pace of rebalancing the supply/demand ratio of tanker transport has accelerated.

Global demand for oil has gradually recovered, but is still below its pre-Covid-19 level, leading to shortages in the international tanker market as a whole.

In its outlook for 2022 published on January 10, 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that oil demand is forecast to increase by 900,000 barrels per day throughout 2022, and the Agency expects transport demand to recover strongly in the second half of this year.

The decommissioning of old international tankers has been delayed, while newbuildings have been delivered as usual, resulting in severe overcapacity. During the pandemic in the first half of 2020, the market for oil transport was on the high side and a large number of shipowners procrastinated plans to dismantle old tankers, many of which were used for “floating” storage. After the sharp decline in the tanker market, under US extreme pressure on Iran and Venezuela, many old tankers were moved to sensitive routes and the capacity of old tankers decreased very little. At the same time new tankers were delivered on time and this greatly increased the pressure and the IEA’s positive outlook. The overall capacity of tankers was increased.

At present, the international oil market is in the destocking phase, as the structure of the international oil price market is reversed – i.e. the oil storage market has declined and the demand for floating offshore tanks has been reduced significantly. The increase in oil prices is accompanied by the first change in the structure of price differentiation. Since May 2020, the market has been scarce. It has entered a destocking phase and there has been a fluctuation in the demand for reserves. The rental price has fallen again and the capacity to move offshore has been significantly reduced. Temporary offshore floating tanks are constantly being released during the destocking phase, which means that an increasing oil supply capacity is entering the market.

The blockades of the port and Suez Canal had little impact on supplies to the West. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, European and US ports have been affected, resulting in low operating rates, port congestion and severe tanker delays, which have continuously raised the international maritime transport market. Nevertheless, the quantity and value of refined petroleum products that previously passed through the Suez Canal were relatively large and the impact was also considerable. In recent years, however, numerous refineries have been built in the Near and Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the West Indian coast, from which large quantities of refined oil (including aviation kerosene, diesel oil, etc.) have been exported to Europe. Those quantities were originally handled through the Suez Canal that, as seen above, was made less operational by the aforementioned crisis.

The current charter market is even bleaker: in the second quarter of 2021, the owners of supertankers, the so called very large crude carriers (VLCC), could only accept a return of around 2,000 US dollars per day on freight. The demand-side recovery of the international tanker market is limited and the contradiction of oversupply has become more acute. The international tanker market is in urgent need of rebalancing. In the second half of 2021, global oil demand continued to grow. This improved the international tanker market, but obviously a sharp recovery was not possible.

The current link between the international oil market and the tanker market is similar to the collapse of international oil prices after the financial turmoil of 2008. In March 2009, international oil prices bottomed out and started to rise, but with short spikes. The downturn in the international tanker market lasted until 2014.

Today, as demand recovers, the main variables for the second half of 2021 must be considered. After oil prices being negative, can OPEC+ (i.e. the merger of OPEC and ten other oil exporting countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan) become increasingly influential due to high oil prices? In response to the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy and oil demand, OPEC+ implemented historic production cuts as of May 1, 2020. The scale of production cuts was gradually reduced from 9.7 million barrels per day in May-June 2020 to 5.8 million barrels per day in 2021. At the regular monthly Ministerial Meeting of the major oil-producing countries in early July 2021, the UAE and Saudi Arabia jointly led the oil-producing countries to suspend their production agreement. While the two sides did not share a common view on whether the benchmark used to calculate the UAE’s production share should be adjusted if the production cut were extended from April 2022 to the end of the year.

At the Ministerial Meeting of July 18, 2021, the major oil-producing countries finally agreed on a plan to increase production and endeavour to end production cuts completely by September 2022. International oil prices fell after the decision was taken, reflecting market concern that conflicts within OPEC+ could be amplified due to competition for market share at high oil prices. Although the market has increased since then, OPEC+ has always struggled as it is very difficult to find understandings, not to mention that Iran is waiting for an opportunity to return to the market to compete on price.

Since the Biden Administration took office, Iran’s re-entry into the international oil market has become the biggest supply-side variable. As early as Trump’s Administration, the United States has put extreme pressure on Iran, but the impact of the epidemic in 2020 – combined with the Saudi price war – has driven up oil prices. National shale oil and gas companies in the United States have been severely damaged and it has been difficult to curb the rise in oil prices on the supply side. Since 2021 international oil prices have continued to rise and the price of gasoline in the United States has soared. On the US West Coast, where the price of refined oil products is the highest in the country, the price of gasoline on June 28, 2021 was 3.811 dollar per gallon (or 1.006 dollar per litre), with a 1.057 dollar increase per gallon (it was 0.728 dollar per litre in June 2020).

The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers increased by 5% from May 2020 to May 2021. Food prices increased by 2.2% and energy prices by 28.5%. Prices of all other commodities and goods increased by 3.8% for the year ending in May 2021: this has been the largest twelve-month increase in the year since June 1992.

With a view to ensuring stable economic growth and curbing inflation, the Biden Administration needs Iranian crude oil. The same holds true for diplomatic and strategic considerations.

In the Iranian elections of June 18, 2021, Sayyid Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati – known as Ebrahim Raisi – was elected eighth President of the country with 72.35% of the vote. Iran’s return to the nuclear deal is expected to become a trump card for President Raisi, although Iran has demanded credible guarantees that a future US President would no longer unilaterally withdraw from the agreement as Donald Trump did on May 8, 2018. Once the hoped-for agreement on the Iranian nuclear deal is reached, the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iranian oil and shipping companies are expected to be lifted simultaneously. The units of the Iranian National Tanker Company (Shirkat-e Mili-ye Nuftekâshi-ye Iran), which disappeared from the market due to sanctions, will return to the international transport market, and the general situation of overcapacity should accelerate the dismantling of older tankers.

Since 2021 China’s adjustment of its oil import and export policy has shown that – based on the peaking and carbon neutrality requirement – the intensity of oil demand cannot be sustained. This means that – as China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil – it will adapt to the guidelines set by the Chinese government. China’s great long-term demand for crude oil needs to be revised.

With regard to international tanker construction, as steel prices continue to rise, the market for tanker scraps is booming and cash earnings from dismantling old ships continue to increase. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has continuously improved ship technical specifications and this has favoured the reduction of old transport capacity in the maritime sector. Furthermore, the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the so-called Ballast Water Management Convention of February 13, 2004) stipulates that all ships must install a ballast water management system by September 8, 2024 or use the ballast water carried by the ships, treated by means of a specific management system. At the moment, the deadline is still almost 40 months away, and an industry survey agency has found that there are still around 35,000 ships worldwide that need to be repaired with the installation of such systems.

Meanwhile, on June 17, 2021, the 76th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee adopted a resolution on reducing ships’ carbon emissions and set a 2% reduction in carbon intensity each year from 2023 to 2026. The vast majority of the world’s ships must meet this target: according to this requirement, if the oldest ships are not adapted to these parameters, they will not be able to operate legally.

Based on the continued expectations of the international tanker market, the shipowners’ motivation to dismantle ships has increased, rather than spending money to refit old ones. Deliveries of newly built tankers are expected to decrease as from 2023. The task of satisfying the supply side of the international tanker market could bear fruit as early as this year.

In the first half of 2021, the international maritime tanker market was struggling with sluggish oil prices and shipowners were suffering. In the second half of the year, global oil demand recovered, although there was residual hope for shipowners to raise freight rates. If the various crises recorded over the past two years show visible signs of ending, trends will certainly improve.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Kurdistan – Britain Ties in New Momentum Driven by Energy Supply

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One hundred year before, despite world promise for Independent Kurdistan after post world war’s Ottoman division, Britain government’s decision to divide Kurdistan and merge it in new forming Iraq and Turkey, as well as bloodily suppressing the Kurdish rebel movement by using intense bombardment deprived the Kurds of their right to self-determination, built a historical aloofness between the Kurds and Britain, which has been deepened over time, and brought profound bilaterally distrust, it’s still lasting.

While, majority of people in Middle East (M.E) strongly still believe that Britain’s interests or intentions are in behind of most of the sufferings in this region, but Kurds found their fate directly changed by Britain policies in the M.E. Britain’s role in Iraq’s political and economical process of Iraq  by 1972 were main obstacle in Kurdish movements for independence. This policy continued then, with no proper reactance by Britain for Iraqi Baathi government’s violences against Kurds, such as chemical attacks and Infal (Massacre of more than 180,000 people) deepened these mutual reluctances, but Britain’s cooperation along with France and the United States in passing UN Security Council’s Resolution 688 to prevent a mass extermination of the Kurds by the Iraqi government in 1991, is unforgettable turning point in Britain’s approach toward Kurdish people.

Twelve years later, when international coalition, led by U.S, Overthrew Baath’s Saddaam Hussein in 2003, British forces focused on south of Iraqi province of Basra, where later in 2009, British giant oil, bp, signed its first oil contract in modern Iraqi era to develop the big field of Rumaila in cooperation with Chines CNPC. Four years later, British bp entered new cooperation with Iraqi federal for redeveloping oil fields in Kurdish city of Kirkuk, where first oil well in Iraq’s history were drilled by British led Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) in 1927. Kirkuk, where known as heart of Kurdistan, is one of disputed regions between Kurdish government and federal government of Iraq, stipulated in Iraqi constitution (article 140) to be determined by a referendum, so far it has been postponed.

Meanwhile, despite British bp’s interest to Kirkuk, less than 100 km far from Erbil, KRG’s capital, lack of any British giant oil and gas companies’ desire to enter the projects in Kurdish administrated region, raise a doubt over Britain’s support for 2017’s October attacked by Iraqi federal forces on the Kurdish peshmerga’s bases in Kirkuk, in contrast to the close mutual cooperation in the fight against ISIS terrorism in Iraq.

When the distance between the Kurds and Britain was predicted to widen, bike-tour of Erbil streets by Kurdistan President and British ambassador to Iraq, in April 2021, dispatched positive pulses. The improvements in mutual relationship continued, when British foreign minister visited Erbil, June of 2021. Then, Kurdistan President’s visit of No.10 of Downing Street strengthened the ties, brought hopes for more developments.

Russian invasions on Ukraine, which highlighted Europe’s need for reform in Energy policies and diversifying energy sources, mainly for Natural gas supplies, made historical opportunity for Kurdistan, world biggest undeveloped oil and gas reserves. Kurdistan Region of Iraq own about 45 billion barrels of oil reserves and about 5.7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, while the KRG’s oil production is still below 500,000 bpd and about 15 million cubic meters of natural gas. While Baath government of Iraq left Kurdistan oil and gas reserves undeveloped until end of its rule in 2003, Kurdish semi-autonomous government began development plan of its oil and gas, soon after 2007, when its oil and gas law was passed in region’s parliament. The semi-autonomous region’s oil production is over three OPEC members including Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea, according to OPC Monthly Oil Market Report – April 2022.

Kurdistan government targeted fast raise in natural gas production to 725 million cubic feet by 2023 and more than one billion cubic feet by 2025, which enabled region to start export natural gas in next two years. Kurdish government president and prime minister recently visited regional countries, incising Qatar, UAE and Turkey to receive their support. In next step, Kurdish PM, Mr. Masrour Barzani, showed Kurdistan’s plan to develop the region’s natural gas production and infrastructures to export to Europe, through Turkey, during his Dubai Energy Forum. He also during his meeting at mid of April 2022, with Britain’s PM, Mr. Brouris Johnson, discussed Kurdistan’s interest  to connect region’s natural gas to international transmitting pipeline in Turkey, seems supported by British PM, a great chance for more development in mutual economical relationship.

Kurdistan’s ambitiously plan for fast development of its natural gas production to be supported by west, mainly US and UK in several categories. While KRG should internally conduct radical reforms in directing the sector, the international supports to be achieved against threatening of Kurdistan by Baghdad’s view on Kurdistan’s oil and gas sector, seeking to centralize its administration, which is needed to be resolved with federal government swiftly. International racing, is also vital for facing the regional and global competitor’s challenges, seems to be next step facing Kurdish natural gas project.

New era in Kurdistan and Britain ties sparked hopes to bring Britain’s support for Kurdistan’s oil and gas industry, not only technically, but also, politically. British companies would be welcomed in Kurdistan to participate in developing Kurdistan’s oil and gas plan, financially and technically supports. Also, Britain’s political support for Kurdistan’s natural gas, mainly, would be softening Iraq’s position against Kurdistan’s natural gas, which could back Britain’s strategy for diversifying UK and Europe natural gas sources.

The new turning point in Kurdistan and Britain is recently kicked off, would strengthen ties and raise hopes for strategical achievement, if Britain is ready to warmly shake the hands with Kurdish government, mainly for gas policy.

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The Development and Geopolitics of New Energy Vehicles in Anglo-American Axis Countries

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While the global development of green energy and industries has been an ongoing matter, the war launched by Russia in Ukraine adds a deeper geopolitical dimension to it. In this shift, the “Anglo-American Axis”, comprising the United Kingdom and the United States, may once again lead the way.

Take the UK as an example. In promoting green energy and green industry, and reducing its carbon emissions, a series of seemingly radical policies have been introduced in the past two years. The UK government released the “Ten-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution” in November 2020, proposing the development of offshore wind power, in addition to promoting the development of low-carbon hydrogen, and providing advanced nuclear energy, accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles, among others. It also includes action plans for the reduction of 230 million tons of carbon emissions in the transport and construction industries in the next decade.

In the policy paper Energy White Paper: Powering Our Net Zero Future published in December 2020, the UK has planned for the transformation of the energy system, and strive to achieve the goal of ne-zero carbon emissions in the energy system by 2050. On the conventional energy front, it announced a phase-out of existing coal power plants by October 2024. Focusing on the fields of energy, industry, transportation, construction and others, it aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030. Additionally, the UK has also launched the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) on January 1, 2021, setting a cap on total greenhouse gas emissions for industrial and manufacturing companies, with the objective of achieving a net-zero emissions target by 2050. In March 2021, it took the lead among the G7 countries to launch the Industrial Decarbonization Strategy, supporting the development of low-carbon technologies and improving industrial competitiveness. The plan is to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing companies by 2030 and build the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial zone by 2040.

In terms of public transport, there is the March 2021 National Bus Strategy, and a green transformation plan for the bus industry is proposed. In July of the same year, the Transport Decarbonization Plan is announced, further integrating low-carbon transformation in transportation such as railways, buses, and aviation, and promoting the electrification of public and private transportation. At present, there are more than 600,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the UK, and the production of new energy vehicles exceeds one-fifth of the total car production. In the nation’s new car sales for February 2022, electric vehicle sales accounted for 17.7% of the market, the market share of plug-in hybrid vehicle sales is 7.9%. Adding traditional hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles account for more than one-third of the sales.

On April 8, 2022, the UK government announced the annual development goals for new energy vehicles. It is stipulated that by 2024, all-electric vehicles must occupy 22% of the market. This proportion rises to 52% in 2028 and 80% in 2030. The country’s authority hopes that these mandatory policies will force carmakers to, by 2035, increase the share of electric vehicles in sales every year, when all models must achieve zero emissions. It will then ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and hybrid cars from 2035, under plans unveiled two years ago.

As the world’s largest automobile consumer, the United States has also put forward the development plan for new energy vehicles. It should be pointed out that the marketization forces represented by Tesla have played a strong and spontaneous role in the U.S.’ development of new energy vehicles. On this basis, the supporting policies introduced by the U.S. government will have greater policy flexibility. After the Biden administration came to power, there are changes in the negative attitude of the Trump administration towards the new energy industry, and an agreement returning to the Paris Agreement has been signed. To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. government plans to increase the sales of new energy vehicles (including plug-in hybrid, pure electric, and fuel cell vehicles) to 40-50% by 2030. The government and industry will provide subsidies for the purchase of these vehicles, improve the charging network, invest in research and development, and provide subsidies for the production of the vehicles and their spare parts. On March 31, 2021, the Biden administration proposed to invest USD 174 billion in supporting the development of the U.S. electric vehicle market, which involves improving the U.S. domestic industrial chain. It targets to construct 500,000 charging stations, electrify school buses, public transport, and federal fleets by 2030. In President Biden’s USD 1.75 trillion stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives that year, there was a subsidy mechanism for new energy vehicles and additional subsidies for traditional American car companies.

Major U.S. domestic and international automakers, United Auto Workers, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the California government, the U.S. Climate Alliance, as well as other industrial and governmental agencies have issued a joint statement and support the Biden administration to accelerate the development of the new energy vehicle industry, so as to strengthen the leadership of the U.S. in this field. On the basis of marketization, the strong support of the U.S. to the new energy vehicle industry will greatly promote the development of this particular market in the country.

Researchers at ANBOUND believe that the UK and the American strategies and series of policies for the development of new energy vehicles are not merely concerning industry and green development. Instead, they carry profound influence and significance. Chan Kung, founder of ANBOUND, pointed out that the policy signals given by the Anglo-American axis represent the shape of the things to come. The development of new energy vehicles is not a purely industrial or technological issue. It is conspicuous that such a development means alternative ways of energy utilization have emerged, and this energy revolution has its geopolitical implication, where both the UK and the U.S. will further ditch their dependence on Russian energy. If the future industrial system and consumer market are no longer dependent on oil, then Russia, which is highly dependent on oil resources economically, will be hit greatly in economic sense.

It should be pointed out that due to the complexity and extension of the transportation system, this revolutionary policy of energy substitution will also drive the rapid development of other industries, as well as related technological buildout and the manufacturing of new products. It will not take long for a new manufacturing system to emerge in the countries and societies of the Anglo-American axis.

Chan Kung emphasized that it is also worth noting that from a geopolitical perspective, this large-scale new energy policy is also a measure to share geopolitical risks and pressures. In the past, countries and governments had to address issues caused by geopolitical risks, such as rising oil prices and inflation. These in turn, could lead to political instability if the ruling government failed to address them well. However, the rapid development of industries such as new energy vehicles has made a great change in the situation. The pressure on the government was quickly directed to the private sector, industry, and society. To improve the quality of life, people are spending money to buy new energy vehicles. This is tantamount to common people spending money to solve the geopolitical risks of the Anglo-American axis countries and governments. Once this pattern and market system are formed, the Anglo-American axis countries will not only eliminate the pressure of Russia’s weaponization of energy, they can also generate profits from it, even form a new manufacturing system that can scrap their dependence on the manufacturing industry of third world countries and China. From this ideal logic, the development of new energy vehicles can serve multiple purposes for countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

Noticeably, unlike in China, the “electric vehicles” or “new energy vehicles” mentioned in the supporting policies of the Anglo-American axis countries do not have any specific type (such as plug-in hybrid, pure electric, fuel cell vehicle, etc.). This is actually a wise decision in the design of public policy. The technology part is a technical issue, not a public policy issue. Separating public policy from technical issues not only distinguishes the functions of policy and market, but also effectively reduces the influence of interest groups.

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China’s Contribution to Bangladesh’s Achievement of 100 Percent Electricity Coverage

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With the opening of a China-funded eco-friendly 1320mw’s mega power plant at Payra in Patuakhali district, Bangladesh became the first country in South Asia to achieve 100 percent electricity coverage. That megaproject is a centrepiece of Bangladesh and China’s Belt and Road collaboration. Bangladesh saved $100 million by completing the Payra Thermal Power Plant project ahead of schedule.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also expressed gratitude to the Chinese president and prime minister for their assistance in the construction of the Payra power plant. She claimed that with the inauguration of the project, every residence in the country was now getting electricity and announced 100 percent electricity coverage with the inauguration of the 1,320 MW Payra Thermal Power Plant, the country’s largest of its kind.

She also remarked March – a month of Bengalese Victory, noting that her government was able to open the power plant during this month, which coincides with the “Mujib Borsho,” which commemorates the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the country’s Golden Jubilee.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming quoted on the inauguration ceremony that, “This project serves another major breakthrough in China-Bangladesh cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, another splendid symbol of China’s strong commitment to Bangladesh in its development.”

According to the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Bangladesh has not undertaken such a large-scale, cutting-edge project in the last 50 years, and the Payra plant is Asia’s third and the world’s twelfth to use ultra-supercritical technology.

Bangladesh China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), a 50:50 joint venture between China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) and Bangladesh’s state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL), developed the Payra Thermal Power Plant with $2.48 billion financing from China Exim Bank.

The power generation capacity has rocketed to 25,514 MW in February 2022 from 4,942 MW in January, 2009. Bangladesh is now ahead of India and Pakistan, among the South Asian countries that have brought 98 per cent and 74 per cent of their population under the electricity network, according to data from the World Bank.

Patuakhali district of Bangladesh is set to take the lead in the country’s economic growth following the opening of the country’s first coal-fired Ultra Supercritical Technology power plant in coastal Payra. Within the next 5-10 years, the area will become an energy hub.

The government is also planning to establish a special economic zone and an airport to realize its dream of developing the country, attracting investments to Payra, and establishing besides Kuakata as a world-class eco-tourism centre within the next two decades, according to State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid, while this powerplant will ensure power coverage of this flagship dreams.

The plant will energize Payra port, which has the potential to become an important sea-based transit point on the Silk Route as well as a global trade hub, as the government plans to develop the region as one of the country’s major economic corridors by establishing direct road and rail connections between Dhaka and the rest of the country, as well as connectivity to Bhutan, china, India, and Sri Lanka. According to the port authorities, a full-scale functioning of the port will result in a 2% boost in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Another active power project, The Barapukuria Coal Fired Power Plant Extension is a 275MW coal-fired power plant in Rangpur, Bangladesh is also developed by CCC Engineering and Harbin Electric. Bangladesh received a US$224 million loan from the Chinese private bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in January 2014 to expand the capacity of the 250 MW Barapukuria coal-fired thermal power station by 275 MW.

China’s SEPCOIII Electric Power Construction Corporation has also committed to collaborate with Bangladesh’s S.Alam Group to build coal-fired power facilities in Chittagong with a capacity of 1,320 megawatts, which are targeted to begin operations this year.

Bangladesh joined the flagship BRI in 2016, and its ties with Beijing have grown significantly in recent years as Bangladesh’s largest trading partner is now China. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Dhaka in October 2016 different development projects worth around $20 billion were agreed.  Among which The Padma Bridge Rail Link, the Karnaphuli Tunnel, the Single Point Mooring project and the Dasherkandhi Sewage Water Treatment Plant are all slated to be finished this year. All of these china funded projects are expected to make a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s economic growth in order to meet the country’s goal of becoming a developed country by 2041.

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