Addressing gas crunch at a price

Spot LNG import restarts at record-high rate

First buy quotes $28 per MMBTU

FE REPORT | Tuesday, 28 September 2021

A nagging gas crunch is being remedied at a price as the government purchased the first LNG cargo at the highest-ever price at US$28 per million British thermal unit (MMBTU) to restart its import from the global spot market.

This expensive buy marks the resumption of importing the fuel from the open market after over a month's cessation during which the arithmetic of fuel pricing has seen changes with the global economy rebounding in pace with the pandemic corona dying down in the face of the worldwide vial-and-syringe war on the invisible foe.

Vitol Asia Pte Ltd supplied the LNG cargo Saturday, the volume measuring 138,000 cubic metres, after winning a short-notice tender as the government was desperate to cope with surging demand for natural gas to feed industries and power plants.

The price is, however, more than double the price the government paid in purchasing LNG from long-term suppliers averaging around US$10 per MMBTU currently.

Bangladesh imports five to six LNG cargoes from long-term suppliers every month to meet a shortfall in the supply of gas from Bangladesh's so-far-discovered hydrocarbon turfs.

The country's overall LNG (liquefied natural gas) re-gasification reached the highest level at 901 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) Sunday after the spot purchase of LNG.

Two operational FSRUs (floating, storage, re-gasification unit) utilized 80.1 per cent of their total capacity to re-gasify around 1.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd), according to Petrobangla statistics.

The country's overall natural gas output stands around 3,268 mmcfd riding on the increased volume of LNG re-gasification.

Local gas fields, including those operated by international oil companies (IOCs), supplied around 2,367-mmcfd gas Sunday from a total of 43 operational gas fields.

The state-run Petrobangla had stopped importing LNG from the spot market from the first week of August following an instruction from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) seeing the price surge on spot market.

With Saturday's delivery the state-owned Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL), a fully owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, imported a total of 15 LNG cargoes from the spot market.

Before the temporary pause in procurement from spot market, Switzerland's AOT Trading AG had supplied the last spot LNG cargo to Bangladesh for August supply at US$13.069 per MMBTU.

Sources said the natural gas crisis, which prevailed across the country over the past one month, eased with the increased supply of gas.

LNG re-gasification through FSRUs had dropped 29.41 per cent to around 600 mmcfd from around 850 mmcfd following the halt in spot LNG purchases.

Petrobangla started regular import of LNG in September 9, 2018 -- in the wake of the gas crunch, which is attributed to a prolonged slow pace in exploration of the hydrocarbons in the country's potential fields.

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