Bangladesh resumes oil production after maintenance

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DHAKA, Nov 10 (Reuters) Oil production at Bangladesh's lone Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) has been started after a two-week closure for maintenance, a senior official said on Saturday.

ERL, the country's state-run refinery located at the port city of Chittagong with 1.5 million tonnes of refinery capacity of crude oil, supplies refined oil to three state-owned oil firms -- Padma, Meghna and Jamuna -- for distribution across the country.

ERL was closed on Oct. 22 for maintenance works, the official said.

''The maintenance works are routinely done each year. The machinery and other establishments of the factory are repaired and renovated,'' Rezaul Alam, a general manager of Eastern Refinery Limited, said.

He said there was no oil crisis in the country following maintenance as all the preparatory work for supplying fuel was done before overhauling, he told Reuters.

The energy ministry has sought a 0 million loan from Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank to expand its capacity three times to 4.5 million tonnes.

The ERL also refines condensates collected from the country's natural gas fields to petrol and diesel. Bangladesh's present condensate production is 5,000 barrels per day.

Bangladesh imports 3.8 million tonnes of fuel every year, including about 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil, officials said.

In Bangladesh, the price difference between refined and crude oil is up to per barrel, they said.

REUTERS SI GC1136

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