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Much stronger Bangladesh offering many opportunities for Italian business people: Ambassador Alessandro


Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Ambassador Antonio Alessandro has said his country is looking for a broader cooperation with Bangladesh in the energy sector and they are very closely following the bidding for the international oil and gas companies to explore in the Bay of Bengal.

“Bangladesh has launched an international tender for exploration of gas and this is an important development. Many global companies are looking at this tender,” he said in an interview with three media outlets including UNB at the embassy.

Ambassador Alessandro said Italian Eni, which is the major multinational Italian company working in the oil and gas sector, is also monitoring this tender.

“There is still time ahead to consider bidding for the Italian company and for other companies. So, this is an important development,” he said.

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Much stronger Bangladesh offering many opportunities for Italian businesspeople: Ambassador Alessandro

Petrobangla, Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, has floated the offshore bidding, inviting international oil and gas companies to explore in the Bangladesh maritime area in the Bay of Bengal.

The tender, named “Oil and Natural Gas Exploration Under Bangladesh Offshore Bidding Round 2024”, was published recently giving six months time until September 9, 2024 for submission of the bids.

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As per the floated tender, a total of 24 offshore blocks — of which nine are shallow blocks — and 15 deep sea blocks are available for the bidding round.

Responding to a question from UNB, the ambassador said the energy sector in Bangladesh is very important and it is a big challenge for Bangladesh to find the sources of energy for its development and also to make the energy system more sustainable moving towards renewable.

He said Bangladesh and Italy signed two MoUs, including one on the energy sector, in July last year when Prime Minister Hasina visited Rome.

“Now we need to implement this agreement and cooperate more in the energy sector. And LNG is one of the areas. And renewable – also energy from waste to energy projects – this is another important area where Italian companies are quite developed and there are many opportunities in Bangladesh,” said the envoy, adding that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is one area within a broader context.

A Much Stronger Bangladesh

Ambassador Alessandro said the relations between Bangladesh and Italy are growing and which are now multifaceted. “They are growing because both countries are evolving. Bangladesh is not anymore an LDC and is quite a much stronger country with developing in many areas, presenting many opportunities for Italian business people.”

He said Italy also, at the same time, is growing his role within the European Union and globally. “So, the two countries relations are growing also because of this bridge represented by the Bangladeshi community in Italy, which acts as a bridge between the two countries, and the community is also growing in numbers and in quality.

Explaining why the relations are multifaceted, Alessandro said if they look at the relations 30 years ago, maybe it was just development, humanitarian aid and some basic trade.

“Now our relations are more diverse. And there is trade, migration, defense and culture. So the spectrum of what we can do together is much broader, and I see a lot of potential in our relations,” he said.

The ambassador said there is untapped potentials, meaning that the two countries have a lot to give each other and so far, this has not been expressed fully. “So, there is more than we can do together.”

The ambassador said Bangladesh Armed Forces are quite developed and very effective, and this is demonstrated by the fact that the Bangladesh is the first largest troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping system.

“So to maintain these, they need cooperation by other countries. Italy is proud to have been one of the countries that have cooperated with Bangladesh in this in this area, and we maintain very good relations with the Armed Forces of Bangladesh, Air Force, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, police,” he said.

Alessandro said they are very happy to continue to work with Bangladesh and there are many forms of cooperation, not just buying arms. “Buying arms is a bit of a simplistic way of putting that. So, the cooperation is broader.”

Responding to a question, he said Secretary General (equivalent to Foreign Secretary) at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coming from Rome at the end of June for political consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.

He said the director for Italian Citizens Abroad will also visit on July 1 as every year they have a commemoration of the Holey Artisan Bakery terrorist attack that happened on first July, 2016.

“Every year there is a ceremony to remember the victims of that attack. So, the director is coming. These are the short term visits. Then we will consider, of course, additional visits,” he added.

Regarding resumption of Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ direct flights to Italy’s Rome, he said they welcome this direct air connectivity.

“I attended the launching ceremony of this new flight. It is a very good development in the Italy-Bangladesh relations,” he said.

Ambassador Alessandro said opening up new routes and new flights depends on the demand. “So we should see the demand in the market and understand if there is space for more flights like that by demand or by eta airways.