Originally posted in The Financial Express on March 15, 2023
Russia has proposed to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Bangladesh during the ongoing inter-governmental commission meeting between the two countries being held online, said sources.
The offer came at a time when Bangladesh has been struggling to source LNG from the international market to meet the mounting domestic natural gas demand, especially in industries and power plants.
The source close to the meeting did not say about the quantity of LNG that Russia intends to export or its price.
Petrobangla Chairman Zanendra Nath Sarker said he was yet to receive any such proposal formally.
“If we get the proposal to get Russian LNG, it can be considered after necessary evaluation, including that of geopolitical issues,” he added.
Last year, Russia also offered to export crude oil to refine in Bangladesh’s lone refinery – the Eastern Refinery Ltd (ERL). But the offer could not be explored mainly due to the ERL’s capacity constraints.
Russia is currently engaged in war with Ukraine, which prompted sanctions from the US and its western allies.
Bangladesh also banned a total of 69 sanctioned Russian ships from entering into the country’s sea territory after barring one Russian sanctioned vessel ‘Ursa Major’ last month.
During the Russia-Bangladesh inter-governmental commission meeting, both the countries discussed about bilateral trade along with economic, scientific and technical cooperation.
Russia also proposed to extend cooperation in setting up gas transmission pipelines and modernising age-old power plants here.
Russia reiterated its demand to carry out financial transactions with Bangladesh in Ruble.
Both the sides also discussed over the progress of under-construction Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP), which is being implemented under Russian supplier’s credit.
Officials said after raising natural gas tariffs by up to 178.88 per cent in February, Bangladesh has ramped up LNG import, especially from spot market.
It has planned to purchase a total of eight LNG cargoes in April, which is 14.28 per cent up from March.
Of these LNG cargos, six will be brought from long-term suppliers – Qatargas and Oman Trading International (OTI) – and two from the international spot market.
The country will require an estimated US$450 million to import increased quantity of LNG to feed the mounting fuel demand in industries and power plants.