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    Bangladesh to Open up LNG Imports


The private sector will be able to enter the market once the policy has been finalised

by: M Azizur Rahman

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Bangladesh to Open up LNG Imports

Bangladesh will soon allow the private sector to import LNG, re-gasify it and sell it to clients at prices to be negotiated between the two parties, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid told NGW January 16. At the moment only the government can perform those functions.

A lawmaker for three straight terms since 2008, Hamid has been serving as a state minister holding the same portfolio for two consecutive terms since 2014.

Elaborating on the plan, Hamid said the private sector, which can include foreign entities, would be allowed to build an LNG import terminal, if necessary, to facilitate business under a specific policy to be formulated soon.

It would also be allowed to supply gas through state-run national gas grid against payment of wheeling charges, he added.

The demand for natural gas in industries and power plants is mounting in line with the steady yearly growth of gross domestic product (GDP), which has been above 7% for the last three years.

Bangladesh started importing LNG last April with the arrival of US Excelerate Energy's Excellence with 136,000 m³ of lean LNG from Qatar at Moheshkhali Island terminal.

State-run Petrobangla, however, started imports from Qatar's RasGas in a term contract last September after successfully feeding regasified LNG to consumers from August 18, 2018. At the moment, 300mn ft³ of this gas are being supplied to the national grid to feed consumers based in the industrial region around Chattogram and this volume is set to rise soon, said Hamid.

Bangladesh will need to import around 30mn metric tons/yr of LNG to meet the growing local demand by 2041 as domestic gas reserves are depleting fast. Bangladesh's domestic output is hovering at around 2.75bn ft³/d against demand of around 4bn ft³/d, according to Petrobangla.