Gas crisis to continue two more weeks

Originally posted in The Financial Express on 20 February 2022

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The country’s existing natural gas crisis is set to continue for two more weeks as it might take until the end of this month to get the Summit Group’s FSRU (floating, storage, re-gasification unit) ready for operations.

It means gas guzzling power plants, industries, households, compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations, commercial and household consumers will have to face the ongoing natural gas crisis for several more days.

State-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has, however, planned to run the current gas-fired dual-fuel power plants by diesel in an expensive energy substitution and the gas saved from electricity generation will be supplied to industries, if the crisis prolongs further.

Some 25 gas-fired power plants are now shut as the state-run Petrobangla could supply around 766 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of natural gas to power plants against their 2,252 mmcfd demand.

Gas-fired power plants having the generation capacity of around 5,500 megawatt (MW) are now shut mostly due to the gas crisis.

Most of the furnace oil-and diesel-fired power plants are already in operation now.

Dwindling natural gas supplies from local fields and inadequate liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports limited the availability of the fuel for industries, power plants and other consumers.

Currently, Petrobangla has been using only one FSRU out of the total two since November last year and its LNG re-gasification capacity has halved due to rupture of the ‘mooring line’ of Summit’s FSRU.

Ship-to-ship transfer of LNG of the FSRU has remained suspended since then, said a senior Petrobangla official. “The FSRU won’t be back in operation until a fresh mooring line is built by this month”, he said.

Mooring line is a specialised cable that helps tie up FSRU with LNG- carrying vessels for smooth ship-to-ship transfer of the fuel.

Currently, the country’s LNG re-gasification is dependent on US’s Excelerate Energy’s FSRU.

Around half a dozen LNG cargoes are already scheduled to arrive for re-gasification in Bangladesh from two long-term LNG suppliers – Qatargas and Oman Trading International or OTI – in February.

Bangladesh has also planned to import two LNG cargoes from the spot market in February to meet mounting domestic natural gas demand despite the price surge in the international market.

Excelerate Energy’s FSRU will have to re-gasify all the LNG cargoes to be imported this month. The FSRU is now running at its maximum capacity by re-gasifying around 550 mmcfd of LNG.

The country’s natural gas output is currently hovering around 2,875 mmcfd, of which 557 mmcfd is regasified imported LNG, according to Petrobangla statistics as on February 27, 2022. State-run BPDB is currently relying more on oil-fired power plants to generate electricity.