Storage limitation in the country's lone LNG import terminal is pushing re-gasification of 'expensive' fuel above its capacity.
State-run Petrobangla had been re-gasifying more than 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) equivalent of LNG for last several days only to trim down the volume of stored LNG and ensure unloading of fresh LNG cargo, a senior Petrobangla official told the FE on Saturday.
US-based Excelerate Energy's floating LNG terminal-Excellence - re-gasified up to 520 mmcfd of LNG, which was 4.0 per cent higher than the maximum capacity for LNG re-gasification in the FSRU (floating, storage, re-gasification unit) located at Moheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal, he said.
The Excellence has the capacity to store a maximum of around 138,000 cubic metres of LNG.
"As there is no LNG storage capacity other than the FSRU, we have to manage re-gasification and unloading of fresh LNG import cargoes simultaneously," said a senior official of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR).
"By re-gasifying LNG above the Excellence's capacity, we made room for unloading of an arriving LNG import cargo," he said.
The official could not say whether Petrobangla would have to pay additional fees to Excelerate Energy for re-gasifying above the Excellence's capacity.
He, however, said re-gasifying LNG above the terminal's capacity is less expensive than keeping the loaded LNG import cargo stranded and counting demurrage.
The Excellence was designed to re-gasify a maximum of around 500 mmcfd of LNG.
According to terminal use agreement with Excelerate Energy, Petrobangla is required to pay the US firm around US$ 237,000 (Tk 20.14 million) per day, no matter it utilises the full capacity of FSRU or less.
Excellence carrying the country's first LNG cargo arrived at Moheshkhali terminal on April 24 last year.
Technical issues and rough sea during the June-August monsoon season kept it stranded off the south coast of Chattogram for months.
The Excellence got connected to the subsea pipeline network on August 05, and commenced injecting the first re-gasified gas on August 12. Commercial operation of the FSRU started on August 18, 2018.
Petrobangla counted 'capacity payment' to Excelerate more than five months since the beginning of commercial operation of the FSRU as it could not re-gasify the agreed maximum capacity of LNG until late January this year.
Incompletion of the much-awaited 30-kilometre Anwara-Fouzdarhat gas transmission pipeline was the key reason that forced Petrobangla to count substantial capacity payment at least until November 27, 2018 when it got readied to carry re-gasified LNG.
Lack of coordination between the state-run Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) and the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) was blamed later as Petrobangla could not arrange sufficient LNG to re-gasify until late January this year, said officials.
Petrobangla has so far imported 16 regular LNG cargoes for re-gasification.