Bangladesh's liquefied natural gas (LNG) import increased significantly by 64.61 per cent in last fiscal year (FY), 2019-20, to 4.164 million tonnes to meet the mounting domestic gas demand.
The state-run Petrobangla imported 2.53 million tonnes of LNG in the previous FY, 2018-19, through its subsidiary Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL), a senior official said.
The increased volume of LNG was consumed by the country's gas-guzzling industries and factories, especially the gas-fired power plants.
Several dual-fuel power plants, having the total electricity generation capacity of around 650 megawatts (MW), which were running on gasoil, have been converted to gas-fired ones, resulting in the rise of LNG import, he also said.
The country's LNG import is set to increase further, as it has already cleared the bottlenecks for full utilisation of its two floating, storage, re-gasification units (FSRUs) with the completion of required natural gas transmission pipeline in March.
Besides, the government intends to shut the age-old oil-fired power plants, whose tenures have already expired, gradually making room for operation of more LNG-fired power plants to save both cost and environment.
Of the two operational FSRUs, the US-based Excelerate Energy started supplying re-gasified LNG from its FSRU commercially from August 18, 2018, while local Summit Group started from April 29, 2019.
Each of the FSRUs has the capacity to re-gasify around 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of LNG.
Bangladesh has been importing LNG under long-term deals from Qatargas as well as from Oman's Oman Trading International (OTI).
Since inception of LNG import, Bangladesh imported around 4.58 million tonnes of LNG from Qatargas until June 30, 2019 through some 33 cargoes.
From OTI, it imported around 1.147 million tonnes of LNG until June 30, 2019, the official added.
Separately, Bangladesh is eying to start importing LNG from the spot market soon in an effort take advantage of its low prices and meet the country's growing demand.
RPGCL has already inked master sale and purchase agreement (MSPA) with 14 global suppliers separately to import LNG from the spot market.
RPGCL will procure spot LNG, based on market prices, terminal availability, re-gasification capacity and downstream demand.
Spot LNG prices have plunged to historic lows this year on the back of lower demand due to milder than usual winter, the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, and increased supply from the US and Australia.