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Spot-market LNG imports rise on gas shortage

The government increases the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the volatile spot market to overcome the countrywide gas crisis.

The rise in LNG import is because of last week’s abrupt fall in gas supply from the country’s largest Bibiyana gas field, causing this crisis.
Three LNG cargoes would now be imported from the spot market in April instead of two to ramp up gas supply, said a senior Petrobangla official on Saturday. It purchased the latest LNG cargo from the spot market at around $35 per metric million British thermal unit (mmBtu) for April delivery. Qatargas also increased supply of LNG under a term contract through rescheduling its previous LNG cargo delivery plan for Bangladesh.

Augmented imports from both spot market and term suppliers jacked up LNG regasification to 850-million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), the highest such capacity from two operational FSRUs, on Saturday. The overall supply increased to 3,150 mmcfd with around 850-mmcfd regasified LNG while local gas fields supplied around 2,300 mmcfd to overcome the crisis.The country’s overall natural gas demand is more than 4,000 mmcfd, according to the state-run Petrobangla. Supply from the troubled Bibiyana field is now hovering around 1,166 mmcfd than that of around 1,275 mmcfd at pre-trouble level, with five gas wells coming on line.

According to sources, gas production at the sixth well is uncertain as the facility got damaged when sand came out through it while producing gas. Supply from Bibiyana dropped as low as 800 mmcfd on April 03 when all six gas wells of the field were shut.

Consumers thus suffered for low gas pressure and power outage. Industrial output got affected due to lower-than-expected gas pressure and home cooking suffered. Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the mounting natural gas demand due to dwindling natural gas production from local gas fields and higher price of LNG in the international market.

Its current buying price of LNG from term suppliers hovers around $13 per mmBtu, considering the Brent crude price at an estimated $100 per barrel. Currently, the country imports five to six LNG cargoes from its two long-term suppliers. Petrobangla started importing LNG in September 2018. It has sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with Qatar’s RasGas to buy up to 2.5-million tonne per year (MTPA) of lean LNG for over 15 years. During the initial five years of the deal, RasGas will supply around 1.8 MTPA, which will increase up to 2.5 MTPA in the next 10 years. The purchase price has been set at around 12.65 per cent of the three-month average price of Brent crude oil plus $0.50 constant per mmBtu. If Petrobangla has more demand in the first five years, it can increase the import volume annually to 2.5 MTPA. For the next 10 years, it has the option to reduce the amount by 10 per cent every year.

If Bangladesh takes less than the base amount of LNG, in any year, it will pay on a take-or-pay basis. It has a similar SPA with Oman Trading International, now named as OQ, to import annually around 1.0 MTPA LNG for 15 years. Petrobangla has been purchasing LNG at 11.9 per cent of the three-month average of Brent crude oil prices plus $0.40 cents per mmBtu. The payments are to make within 25 days of delivery. The petroleum agency has the option to increase LNG imports to 1.5 MTPA or lower it to 0.9 MTPA without having to pay penalties.
Source: Financial Express

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