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Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) has issued an international tender to import as much as 1.345 million tonnes of refined oil products for the second half of 2019, officials said on Monday.

The state-owned company is seeking 940,000 tonnes to 1.12 million tonnes of gasoil with a sulphur content of 500 parts-per-million (ppm), 110,000 tonnes of jet fuel, 60,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes of 180-centistoke high sulphur fuel oil and 15,000 tonnes of 95-octane gasoline.

The tender closes on May 16 and is valid up to 2 September.

Delivery will be carried out in phases over the second half of 2019, a senior BPC official said.

Some volumes will also be imported through separate term deals, the official told Reuters, without giving details.

BPC resumed issuing tenders for long-term contracts in 2016 after a 15-year hiatus, during which it negotiated directly with suppliers of fuel products.

It wants to move away from direct deals as part of efforts to buy at cheaper rates through international tenders.

A shortfall in supplies of natural gas has forced the South Asian country to burn oil, a costlier option, to generate electricity.

Bangladesh typically imports around 3.2 million tonnes of diesel and 2.5 million tonnes of fuel oil annually, making it one of the top 10 importers in the region.

Currently, BPC has term contracts with nine companies for refined oil product imports.

Suppliers for Bangladesh’s middle distillates contracts include Kuwait Petroleum Corp, Malaysia’s Petronas, Emirates National Oil Company, Thailand's PTT, Indonesia’s Bumi Siak Pusako, PetroChina and Unipec.

Bangladesh has also signed a 15-year deal with India’s Numaligarh refinery to supply diesel, its first long-term contract with any Indian supplier, in which 110,000 tonnes will be imported in 2019.

BPC also buys 700,000 tonnes of Murban crude from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co annually and another 600,000 tonnes of Arab Light from Saudi Aramco for its only refinery.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh's second liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal has started to feed gas to the national grid since late last month.

About 3.75 million tonnes a year of LNG are expected to be imported through the facility, doubling the country's LNG import capacity to 7.5 million tonnes per year once fully operational.