Gas crisis to continue until early February

Originally posted in The Financial Express on 06 January 2022

Illustrative Photo

The country’s existing natural gas crisis will continue at least until early February as Summit Group’s FSRU (floating, storage, re-gasification unit) will not be ready for operations within this month.

State-run Petrobangla has been using only one FSRU out of the total two since November last year and its LNG (liquefied natural gas) re-gasification capacity has halved due to rupture of ‘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”, he said.

The energy and mineral resources division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources earlier had predicted that the FSRU would come online by January 15 and had urged all natural gas consumers to be conservative in gas consumption.

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

Summit’s 3.75 million-tonne per-year (Mtpa)-capacity FSRU had around 49,000-cubic-meter lean LNG in its inventory as on November 29, 2021.

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 January.

Excelerate Energy’s FSRU will have to re-gasify all the six LNG cargoes to be imported this month.

Bangladesh has now kept the import of the gas from the spot market on hold in view of the price surge and lower demand for natural gas during winter.

Summit Group’s FSRU had initiated re-gasifying LNG on April 29, 2019 as the country’s second FSRU after Excelerate’s, doubling the country’s LNG consumption capacity to 1,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd).

Excelerate Energy’s Excellence – a vessel – regasified around 533 mmcfd on the day before the start of Summit’s FSRU on April 28, 2019, according to Petrobangla.

The country’s natural gas output is currently hovering around 2,842 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), of which 541 mmcfd is regasified imported LNG, according to Petrobangla statistics as on January 3, 2022.

State-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is currently relying more on oil-fired power plants to generate electricity compared to the usual winter-season scenario.