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Bangladesh aiming to boost LNG imports by a third in 2021 via spot purchases: official

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Bangladesh aiming to boost LNG imports by a third in 2021 via spot purchases: official

Singapore — Bangladesh is aiming to boost LNG imports by more than a third in 2021 from 2020 levels, with most of the incremental volumes expected to be sourced from the spot market, a senior Petrobangla official told S&P Global Platts.

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The country eyes importing around 12.14 million cubic meters of LNG in 88 LNG cargoes over January-December 2021 -- 64 from term dealers and 24 from the spot market, the source said, after it imported 8.97 million cu m in 2020.

The 2020 imports comprised 65 LNG cargoes of 138,000 cu m each, of which only one sourced from the spot market, the official added.

State-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd, or RPGCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, imported around 2.5 million mt of LNG from Qatargas and 1.5 million mt from Oman Trading International under term deals in 2020. The one cargo sourced from the spot market was supplied by Vitol Asia Pte Ltd in late September.

Several dual-fuel power plants in Bangladesh with a total electricity generation capacity of around 650 MW, which had been running on gasoil, have recently been converted to gas-fired ones, resulting in the need for increased LNG imports. More gas-fired power plants are planned to be operational in 2021, the Petrobangla official said.

In addition, the country cleared the bottleneck for full utilization of its two operational floating storage and regasification units with the completion of a natural gas transmission pipeline in 2020.

The government also intends to shut old oil-fired power plants, whose tenure have expired, gradually making room for the operation of more LNG-fired power plants.

Bangladesh has been one of the fastest-growing LNG import markets since beginning to import LNG in 2018.

According to a report prepared by Copenhagen-based research firm Ramboll in association with Geological Survey of Denmark and EQMS Consulting Limited, Bangladesh will need to import around 30 million mt/year of LNG to meet mounting demand from various sectors including industries, power plants and fertilizer plants by 2041 as domestic gas reserves are depleting fast.

Bangladesh's existing gas reserves of around 12 Tcf will be completely depleted by 2038 if no new exploration and discovery takes place, according to the report.