Bangladesh imported 8.97 million cubic metres of LNG in 2020, up 1.56 per cent from 2019.
It brought 65 cargoes, each having around 138,000 cubic metres of LNG (liquefied natural gas), from January to December last year.
The shipments included only one cargo from the spot market and the remaining 64 from term dealers.
This year, the South Asian country has planned to import 64 LNG cargoes from term dealers too.
It has also a plan to import up to 24 LNG cargoes from the spot market if it gets the price at an expected level, a senior Petrobangla official told the FE.
In the calendar year of 2019, Bangladesh imported a total of 64 LNG cargoes from term dealers.
The state-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, imported an estimated 2.50 million tonnes from Qatargas in 2020.
It also imported around 1.5 million tonnes of LNG from Oman Trading International (OTI) the same year.
The lone LNG cargo from the spot market was supplied by Vitol Asia Pte Ltd in late September 2020.
Bangladesh is eyeing an increased volume of LNG in its gas-guzzling industries and factories, especially the gas-fired power plants.
Several dual-fuel plants having the total power-generation capacity of around 650 MW, which were running on gasoil, have been converted to gas-fired ones, resulting in a rise in LNG import.
More gas-fired power plants are planned to be operational this year, said the Petrobangla official.
The country's LNG import is set to rise through fully using its two operational FSRUs with the laying of the required gas transmission pipeline last year.
Besides, the government intends to gradually shut oil-fired power plants, whose tenure has expired, making room for operation of more LNG-fired facilities to save both costs and the environment.
US's Excelerate Energy started supplying regasified LNG from its FSRU commercially since August 18, 2018, and the local Summit Group since April 29, 2019.
Both the FSRUs (floating storage regasification units) have the capacity to regasify an estimated 500-million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of LNG.
Currently, Bangladesh has been importing LNG under long-term deals from Qatargas and OTI.
It is working to double LNG imports to around 1,000 mmcfd by 2021 and thereafter to 2,000 mmcfd by 2025.
The currently operational two 3.75 Mtpa-capacity LNG import terminals-both FSRUs-will regasify LNG to ramp up output to around 1,000 mmcfd.
LNG regasification will be 2,000 mmcfd from 2025 with the commissioning of a proposed 7.5 Mtpa land-based LNG import terminal.
The country will be increasingly dependent on regasified LNG as domestic natural gas supplies are depleting, according to the Petrobangla official.
The proposed terminal is planned for construction by a selected sponsor on a 'build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis at Matarbari near the Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh has been one of the fastest-growing LNG import markets since 2018.
The country has been seeing strong growth in industrial gas demand and its fertiliser, textile and leather sectors are expected to account for almost 30 per cent of the total natural gas demand by 2024.
This could be temporarily jeopardised depending on how severely its economy contracts in the coming weeks and months.
A report prepared by Copenhagen-based Ramboll in association with Geological Survey of Denmark and EQMS Consulting Limited says Bangladesh will need to import around 30 million tonnes of LNG annually to meet the mounting demand from sectors like industries, power plants and fertiliser plants by 2041.
The domestic gas reserves are depleting fast. The existing reserves of around 12 trillion cubic feet will completely deplete by 2038 if no new discovery takes place, it cited.