Bangladesh has so far imported around 7.0 million cubic metres of LNG by 50 vessels from RasGas of Qatar and Oman Trading International (OTI) of Oman to meet domestic natural gas demand after re-gasification.
Of the total, RasGas supplied some 40 cargoes while OTI around 10, each carrying about 138,000 cubic metres of LNG on an average, to re-gasify at the country's two operational offshore LNG terminals, said a senior Petrobangla official.
The Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MoPEMR) and state-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL) observed the 'half-century' over LNG cargo imports in the past two days by cutting two FSRU-like cakes, he said.
"It is a significant milestone for the country as a new window of energy source was opened with the start of LNG imports," the Petrobangla official added.
The country's first LNG vessel The Excellence, owned by US company Excelerate Energy, arrived at the first offshore Moheshkhali LNG import terminal on April 24, 2018 but technical difficulties along with rough weather delayed delivery of the cargo by more than three months.
However, the first LNG vessel from RasGas reached the Excelerate's FSRU (floating storage and re-gasification unit) on August 09, 2018.
The second LNG terminal, owned by Summit Group, started flowing re-gasified LNG on April 29, 2019.
Bangladesh's overall LNG re-gasification capacity is around 1,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in total, having 500 mmcfd of LNG re-gasification capacity in each FSRU.
But these two LNG terminals are currently re-gasifying around 522 mmcfd of LNG, around half of the capacity, in total as of August 26, 2019, according to Petrobangla.
Officials said re-gasification from the LNG terminals is lower than the capacity due to bottlenecks in pipeline infrastructure.
With the existing pipeline network, maximum 650 mmcfd of LNG can be evacuated from these terminals as against their total capacity of 1,000 mmcfd.
A 90-kilometre pipeline connecting Moheshkhali to Anwara and the 181-km pipeline connecting Chattogram, Feni and Bakhrabad are still under-construction. The construction work was scheduled to be completed at the end of this year.
Despite logistical and commercial challenges, Bangladesh is set to become a key LNG importer in the coming years, supported by growing consumption, dwindling domestic reserves and expanding LNG import and pipeline distribution infrastructure.
Bangladesh is currently importing lean LNG from RasGas and OTI under term deals.
The country is yet to start importing LNG from spot LNG market.