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Bangladesh expects 2014 oil imports to rise 8 pct on year

DHAKA, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) plans to import 1.3 million tonnes of oil in 2014 for its sole refinery, up more than 8 percent from a year ago, a senior BPC official said On Wednesday.

Next year, 700,000 tonnes of Murban crude would be sourced from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and 600,000 tonnes of Arab Light crude would be supplied by Saudi Aramco, said the official, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to talk to media.

BPC, the country's sole oil importer and distributor, bought around 1.2 million tonnes of crude from the two national oil companies in 2013 for its Eastern Refinery in port city Chittagong.

It has already concluded first-half 2014 term negotiations with nine companies for oil products at mostly unchanged current premiums.

Suppliers for Bangladesh's middle distillates contracts are Kuwait Petroleum Corp, Malaysia's Petronas, Egypt's Middle East Oil Refinery, Emirates National Oil Company, Philippines National Oil Company, Vietnam's Petrolimex, Indonesia's Bumi Siak Pusako, Maldives National Oil Co and Unipec.

Bangladesh's demand for fuel is growing sharply as a shortfall of natural gas forced it to turn to oil-fired power plants to resolve electricity shortages.

The government heavily subsidises BPC that sells fuel oil to the local market at much lower rates than import prices.

BPC takes loans from the Islamic Development Bank and foreign banks to meet growing oil import bills. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Himani Sarkar)