The Financial Express

Gas crisis likely to worsen

LNG re-gasification dips amid import slump

Conversion at two FSRUs only 38pc of capacity Tuesday

| Updated: October 06, 2022 19:51:18

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Bangladesh's liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification dipped to the lowest ebb for import slump as the government tightened energy consumption through austerity to manage foreign-exchange crunch.

Sources said the country's two floating LNG import terminals re-gasified around 380 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of LNG Tuesday--only 38 per cent of their aggregate capacity.

This is the lowest level of LNG re-gasification with both the floating storage and re-gasification units (FSRUs) being operational-at a time when gas supply across the country faces shortage with its cascading impacts.

Previously, the country's overall LNG re-gasification had slumped below 400mmcfd during the last winter when one out the two FSRUs - the Summit Group's one -- was out of operation following technical fault.

One year back on October 3, 2021, Bangladesh re-gasified as high as around 780mmcfd LNG as the country then imported the liquid gas from spot market alongside its imports from long-term suppliers, according to Petrobangla data.

Despite a countrywide blackout Tuesday, LNG re-gasification was, however, not hampered on the day, a senior Petrobangla official told the FE Wednesday.

The blackout came as a blessing in disguise for many industries and factories as they got significant volume of natural- gas supplies with sufficient pressure. The fuel was diverted there after most gas-guzzling power plants had gone put, industry-insiders said.

Bangladesh will be importing 20 per cent less LNG from long-term suppliers in October compared to its September buy, a senior Petrobnagla official told the FE Wednesday.

Four LNG cargoes will be forthcoming this month against the import of five during September.

"We shall be importing less LNG cargoes as per the annual delivery programme, or ADP, as set with the suppliers," he said.

RPGCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bangladesh's state-run agency Petrobangla, deals with LNG trading with the suppliers.

Bangladesh imported five to six LNG cargoes in total from its two long-term suppliers -- Qatargas and Oman Trading International, currently known as OQ -- during summer season, he said. Each cargo carries around 138,000 cubic meters of LNG.

But from October temperature starts falling, so also the demand for energy, and the country will import less LNG, the official justified.

Bangladesh has ceased LNG import from spot market since July 2022 due to high prices on the volatile global market and also to save its swindling foreign-currency reserves.

Besides, as per the agreed ADP with the long-term suppliers Bangladesh will be importing a total of 56 LNG cargoes in 2022, which was 63 in total during 2021, according to official data.

The government has introduced a number of austerity measures to conserve energy, reduce energy imports and save foreign currencies.

According to data from the country's central bank, Bangladesh's foreign-exchange reserves in the week ended September 11 declined further to around $37.03 billion, from $39.77 billion of July 22, due to soaring energy costs stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war.

The belt-tightening includes the trimming down of public office hours by one hour, increase in weekly holiday for educational institutions by a day, shutting shops and shopping malls by 8 pm and prohibiting illuminations in shops, malls and community centres.

To save forex, Bangladesh has also asked all the commercial banks to reduce the consumption of gasoil, along with natural gas and lubricants, by 20 per cent within next one year, and electricity by 25 per cent by 2023.

Bangladesh has started importing LNG since 2018, with the first cargo arriving on April 24, 2018 from Qatargas for re-gasification in the first operational FSRU of US's Excelerate Energy's "Excellence" with 136,000 cubic metres of lean LNG.

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