Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The energy ministry has decided that private companies would be allowed to set up oil refineries ignoring the opposition of the state-run Eastern Refinery Ltd.

The decision was taken at an inter ministerial meeting held in Dhaka, chaired by prime minister’s adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury on Wednesday, presented a draft policy guideline for allowing private companies to set up refineries.
Mr. Tawfiq, however, asked the officials to shorten the policy keeping consistencies with the existing petroleum and environment acts, according to reports.

Currently, the country has only a state-owned refinery – Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL)- with annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons.

Energy officials, however, said that the refiners would have to sell fuel oils to government once the government asked for. But the ERL officials opposed the government move as they believed that their plant alone can meet the local demand if its capacity is enhanced through BMRE (balancing, modernization, rehabilitation and expansion) program.

BBN/SSR/AD-11Nov10-9:55 am (BST)