Maintenance of Summit's floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) along with subsequent lower-than-regular import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is set to extend the country's existing gas crisis over the next couple of weeks, market insiders said.
The state-run Petrobangla is importing a total of four LNG cargoes in February instead of regular five to six cargoes per month due to the Summit FSRU's maintenance, a senior official told the FE on Tuesday.
LNG re-gasification is now hovering around 400 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), which is 40 per cent of the overall re-gasification capacity of the country's two FSRUs.
The Petrobangla has already given go-ahead to the maintenance work of Summit's FSRU, scheduled for later this month, he added.
The other FSRU, owned by the US-based Excelerate, had also sought to carry out its maintenance work this month, but the Petrobangla denied.
A delayed LNG cargo shipment from Oman's Oman Trading International (OTI) during mid-January had led to an acute natural gas crisis across the country last month.
LNG re-gasification had slipped to almost one third - as low as 200 mmcfd - during late January, according to the Petrobangla statistics.
The country's overall natural gas supply is now around 2,880 mmcfd, which was around 3,100 mmcfd in early January, according to the Petrobangla data.
Gas supply situation aggravated further, as the Petrobangla could not purchase LNG from spot market over the past several months.
The agency either did not receive any bids from LNG suppliers or their quoted prices were higher than its expectation.
The government received price quote from the bidder concerned to purchase LNG from spot market for early March delivery after two months of delay.
The government has a plan to import around one-fourth of the country's total LNG requirement from spot market at its expected price.
But in the past tenders, the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) could bag a single tender in September within its expected price to import only one 138,000 cubic metres of LNG cargo from spot market, which was delivered in late September.
After September, the RPGCL had invited tenders once for November 2020 delivery and twice for December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021 deliveries, but did not get any expected price.
None of the bidders turned up to the government's call to supply LNG from spot market for January and February 2021 deliveries.